L Word Generation Q Episode 308 Recap: Quality Time Salts All Wounds

Hello and welcome to my recap of Episode 308 of The L Word: Generation Q, a show that often inspires me to ask the question what is going on?

So… I’ve really tried to keep it mostly positive this season because writing these recaps takes time and I’d like to be happy doing it and I want to maintain an intellectual commitment to the material that enables my brain to remain active as I write. I also know recapping lends itself to nitpicking that isn’t relevant to the casual viewer. And I do mostly like the show! I also adore this cast and I wanna celebrate a program that’s got so much queer representation behind the camera and in front of it. I want the show renewed ’cause I love the community we’ve built around it and I love these characters and also because these recaps get a ton of traffic so it’s good for Business.

But this episode was particularly frustrating ’cause on the one hand, an Emmy to Jacqueline Toboni for an incredible performance in an episode that really gave Finley some meaningful character work and a very satisfying arc. I love how Carrie has rejoined this world and I adored seeing all the characters and the Suarez family come together so organically. Dre and Dani are really cute and it’s fun when Micah gets to do comedy and I’m always here for more Shane/Angie time. It was so well-directed and full of heart.

On the other hand, 308 “Quality Family Time” was often wildly incoherent and the ending was inexcusable (which honestly probably tainted my opinion of the entire episode) and there were no sex scenes and really must we do a relapse storyline and can anybody just acknowledge that there are guidelines around doing amends and so many pieces were put on the board but not played with and Sophie has not gotten enough time this season and where is Gigi and why hasn’t anyone hired me to write a Generation Q Christmas Special???

Okay thanks for listening, let’s see what our little friends are up to this week!


We open at the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern, where my favorite mother/daughter duo (Carrie and Finley) are working through their respective romantic situations on Thanksgiving Day, a time for friends! Firstly, we learn that Carrie’s yet to ride the hobby horse with Misty ’cause Carrie is demisexual and therefore must wait for a solid emotional connection before she can remove her literal and metaphorical layers. Also, I must note that I am indeed tracking the timeline and it’s only been five days since their first kiss, so!

Carrie talking to Finley

You know I personally would just feel a lot more settled about life overall if Prime Video could renew “A League Of Their Own” for its second season

Finley giving Carrie a funny look

Pretty hot take there, Care Bear

Secondly, Finley’s face is lighting up while texting in a way that suggests she’s experiencing delight regarding said texts, which Carrie clocks as indicating that perhaps there is some Sophie/Finley sexting going on!

This is enough to keep the flame of hope for #Sinley alive within me for eight more nights, just like the Maccabi warriors. Then Misty shows up ’cause somehow she’s gotten Carrie on board for my girlfriend’s favorite Thanksgiving tradition: waking up incredibly early and running down the street for 5K miles, aka a “Turkey Trot.”

Carrie and Misty at Dana's, Misty just drank something

OOOF are you sure it’s just Bette Porter’s tears in this witches brew because I swear I can taste a thimble of Tina


In the backroom, Tess has decided to store her dead mother alongside the high-shelf liquor, so I hope that Shane doesn’t start to feel a little sad and accidentally take a swig of Peppermint Patty.

Finley talking to Tess who is at her desk with a pencill

Sit down I wanna introduce you to a little game called M.A.S.H., it’s like ayahuasca for sober people

Finley volunteers to manage The Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern by herself if Tess needs time off to stare at the city from a ledge and cry, but Tess insists that what she truly needs is meaningless tasks to occupy her restless heart. Thus Finely and Tess exit into the clean light of the Dana’s main floor with flower arrangements to find a surprise guest: FINLEY’S MOM.

Finley's Mom showing up in Dana's

Surprise it’s me, famous actress Mary McCormack!

Finley shocked

Oh my god I loved you in “An American Girl Story – Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas”

I have never missed the incredible soundtrack of the original series more than I did this episode — I mean, do you remember it? Do you remember Leonard Cohen and Tegan & Sara and Sleater-Kinney and Nick Cave and The Gossip and Rufus Wainwright and The Murmurs and Joan Armatrading and Lucinda Williams and Le Tigre and Uh Huh Her? The first season finale fading to black and Damien Rice’s and so it is, just like you said it would be sneaking up on your heart and dragging it into a well of sadness? Feist trilling lonely lonely that is me while Jenny and Bette stood side-by-side in their adjacent homes, thick in the mess of their own mistakes?  Dana and Alice dancing to a trippy remix of Shirley Bassey’s “Where Do I Begin?” at The Planet after debuting as a couple? Sex scenes to Kinnie Star and Esthero and Broken Social Scene and that song “Swimming Pool” that played through the blackout sex montage and also in my head forever? Shane cutting Jenny’s hair to Iron & Wine?

I mention that now because after Finley’s Mom shows up, the house music starts chanting: yeah I bet you wanna know what happens next and ok calm down everything is so on the nose!


Cut to Dani’s Castle in the Sky, where a very cozy and cute and shippable Dani and Dre are about to bid farewell to each other for the holiday, as Dre’s thrilled to be returning to their homeland of Ohio for a Thanksgiving celebration that involves stuffing made out of Saltines. I’ve also spent probably 20 Thanksgivings in Ohio and I recommend it highly, because there’s always Green Bean Casserole.

Dre and Dani kissing

Come closer I want to see if you can feel the dry socket in the back of my mouth with your tongue

Dani, however, would prefer for Dre to take some time for tonsil hockey despite their Lyft being mere minutes away.

“The Lyft can wait five minutes,” says Dani, enemy to the working man.

But then Dre gets ten billion iPhone notifications at once and must check their phone: their flight home has been cancelled!


Elsewhere in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Shane and Angie are getting a speakerphone explanation from Alice about why she’s not in this week’s episode as they proceed to a location on the California University campus where they will be “volunteering at the food bank.”

Angie and Shane on speakerphone

Yes of course I’m wearing the cute denim jumpsuit you sent me and yes it does look amazing

Alice asks if Tess is joining them on their journey into Upright Citizenry and Shane says Tess is still in Las Vegas, and I’ve got no idea why she’s lying about this!

But then, just over yonder by the way, Angie spots him: Hendrix Fitz, walking with another woman who I hope is not his student.

Angie: Oh my God, fuck, oh my God.
Shane: What?
Angie: It’s someone I dated? Briefly?
Shane: Which one?

Bisexual representation!

Hendrix handing tote bags to a woman she's walking with

And a tote bag for you, m’lady

I’d imagine that this man is still her professor and therefore Angie would’ve been seeing him 2-3 times a week since their breakup, but also last week’s episode took place from November 18th-19th and now it is merely November 24th, so it’s possible she didn’t have her Intro to Creative Writing Class on this shortened vacation week, but regardless it’s not like she can avoid him forever! He’s her professor, a fact which everybody forgets for this entire g-ddamn episode!


Back at the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern, Mrs. Finley has been left alone in the dining hall and lord knows what she’s getting up to out there. Meanwhile Finley and Tess are in the backroom, processing this turn of events.

Finey looking pained

The doctor promised me if I stopped drinking I’d stop getting kidney stones!

Tess says she’s happy to kick Mrs. Finley to the curb, but if there’s anything she’s learned recently, it’s that we really don’t know how much time we have left with anyone. Alternately, we really don’t know how much time we have left with anyone so maybe we shouldn’t be spending it with people who make us feel terrible!

But also — Tess did know her mother had limited time, that’s why she’d been prioritizing spending time together, that’s why she ran MS charity events, that’s part of why she had her mother literally move into her apartment.  Grief is complicated and different for everyone, but of everything Tess is grappling with, I can’t imagine “didn’t value the time I had left with my mother” is at the top of her list.

But I am not a therapist, just a writer screaming into the void!

Finley winces and then says, “oh, sweet Tess, I can totally do this,” before ducking outside to “get some air.”

Once Finley’s safely outdoors, Tess pours alcohol into a Go-Cup and starts drinking it.

Tess holding a cup

Well here goes relapse storyline number two

The house music croons: Maybe I’ll empty the bottle, maybe I’ll be okay. To which I would like to say: NOBODY IS OK!

Like… must we? Must we do another relapse? ‘Cause also there’s nothing Tess does in this episode that she couldn’t have done sober! She’s perfectly capable of giving bad advice without a drop to drink, we’ve seen it before!


Back outside, Finley’s decided to pair “getting some air” with “calling Sophie,” who she asks to come to the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern ASAP — Sophie hesitates ’cause her whole adorable loving family’s over and they’re already elbows-deep in prep… but when Finley reveals that her Mom just turned up, Sophie changes her mind.

Finley on the phone scratching the back of her neck

You know earlier when you texted that you wanted me between your legs could you go into like a little bit more detail on that

Sophie on the phone with Finley

So actually my Mom’s about four feet away from me right now

Sophie delivers the news to her family: everybody’s going to the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern to support Finley!

Suarez family in the kitchen

UGHHH THIS BOX OF MIXED GREENS IS SO HEAVY WE CAN’T POSSIBLY BRING IT

Maribel wants to know why Sophie and Finley are still talking to each other if they broke up and Virginia and Nana make a private $20 bet that Sophie and Finley are getting back together. Keep the hope alive, fam!

Maribel: I’m not spending Thanksgiving with her or her terrible fucking mother.
Sophie: You know what, yes you are! And you know why? Because you’re my beautiful gorgeous loving so good to people sister queen of this earth.
Micah: That’s good.
Sophie: Because you know it’s the right thing to do, okay? Not everybody has a family like yours, you’re fucking fortunate.

Micah agrees that it’s the right thing to do as a friend, but needs something to “take the edge off” and Sophie promptly hands him a tin of weed gummies and he asks how many he should take and she suggests that he take one and he promptly eats THREE OF THEM? This man has certainly encountered marijuana before! What … is going on…

Micah eating weed gummies

It was on this day that Micah learned that Sour Patch Kids do indeed still slap

Left alone in the kitchen, Maribel confesses to Nana that her plan for the evening involved proposing to Micah. She shows Nana the ring and then Micah comes back to ask if they’re coming? Nana lowers her hand to prevent Micah from seeing the ring. Micah then picks up the tin of weed gummies that he’d intentionally left behind one calendar minute earlier.

Micah walking back into the kitchen

I need more motivation to walk through the door!

He then exits again, and now … the ring is gone? Is Nana a magician? Nana and Maribel decide that it must have somehow landed in the mashed potatoes and then acquired sentient powers enabling it to burrow itself deep into the heart of this side dish and therefore they’re taking the potatoes with them? To look for the ring? Again I must simply just ask… what… is going on


We then cut to Dani’s Castle in the Sky, where Dani apparently is not a Delta SkyTeam Elite Platinum Diamond SkyLounge Codemember ’cause neither she nor Dre are able to secure a viable flight back to the Hinterlands, but great news: Dani has Saltines and just like Mrs Dalloway they are going to make the stuffing themselves!

Dani with a box of saltinees

FOUND EM!

Dre

It is so weird of you to keep your sex toys in a cracker box


We return to the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern, where Mrs. Finley is upset that the Thanksgiving Menu is pre-fixe instead of a la carte, and also reveals that apparently she made a reservation for Thanksgiving at the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern about a week ago and somehow Finley did not take notice of this. I’m guessing nobody wrote it down ’cause if you’re coming solo you can just simply sit at the bar but sure okay.

Finley talking to her mom

So where are you um, staying

Finley's mom giving a fake smile

At the Motel 6 Van Nuys, no thanks to you

Mrs. Finley has been calling Finley but Finley did not pick up!  “How is that supposed to make me feel?” Mrs. Finley asks, regarding Finley not answering the phone. Finley has to admit that it would not make Mrs. Finley feel great. This woman is mean and I hate her and feel sad for Finley!


Out in the gorgeous November sunshine, Carrie and Misty are power-walking through the Turkey Trot when Carrie’s co-worker ambles up to the duo and asks Carrie if this is the famous Tina! You know, Tina Kennard. From Toronto. Who broke up with Carrie 17 months ago? Carrie gently reminds this man that Tina is old news and now she’s got a new girlfriend, Misty!

Carrie, bob and misty doing the turkey trot

You know I find singing “Turkey Lurkey Time” to myself while running to be extremely invigorating

“I’d love to tell you that he’s not always like that, but he is,” Carrie offers Misty after he exits stage left. Misty looks uncomfortable and declares an intention to pick up the pace and then does so, leaving Carrie to attempt to run, an activity she has previously condemned.


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Riese

Riese is the 40-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3003 articles for us.

192 Comments

  1. This might have been easily my favorite episode of Gen Q to date! Family of origin drama/trauma! Carrie standing up for Finley and adopting her! Angie and Shane! Carrie and Misty! Carrie, Misty and Finley! My heart!
    Please make a spinoff with Carrie, Misty and Finley, I am begging you. These three are my favorite characters and I am not alone!

    I love love love the Shane/Angie-dynamic, that was gold. Amazing. Sooo good. I missed Shane like this! Especially the lines: “Which one?” “They’re for charity,” “Excuse me,” “You don’t know who that person is” (so true) and later “You want his parking ticket?” – chef’s kiss <3. Loved how Angie looked around after Shane told her about what she would have done when she was younger. And I was a fan of how Shane didn’t mind that Angie threw the stone but didn’t want to cut herself and told her to get her stuff back. Truly, I want them to rob banks together (be queer and do crime), and I love Uncle Shane as protector and Angie spreading her wings and their family bond. How Shane appreciated Angie’s scrap book and told her she was talented. I love adult Shane with her rebel inside of her, I missed that and I hope she and Tess split up for good. Shane and Angie really got to shine in this episode.

    Finley’s mom: I hated her just as I was supposed to, and I appreciated how real it was. “How is that supposed to make me feel?” and “Just be nice to your mother” – wow. It was so painful seeing Finley apologizing to her mom again and again, falling back into old patterns when clearly her mom was behaving shitty. It was so beautiful so see how Finley stood there in the end saying “I have changed” – very touching.
    Also, I would have wanted to see/hear what Finley would have said when making her amends, as it started “entertaining” (for the lack of a better word). And I wished I could have seen Finley at Faith’s wedding! And in the Multiverse, I want Finley to meet Faith from Buffy.
    Never have I loved Carrie more than when she said to Finley’s mom: “I think it’s time for you to go.”

    Oh wow, I felt so much for Dani when saying “That’s a tough thing to work into an easy conversation” – YES. Simple questions around holidays and also generally (how many siblings do you have? How many children do you have? Where do your parents live? etc.) can be so incredibly loaded when someone died or is incarcerated, and also when there is family estrangement.

    Thank heavens for the next promo.
    Yes, Riese, it sucks that the one character who is not thin is getting a heart attack after running! Thanks for pointing this out!
    Carrie is one of the best characters in this show and I agree with everyone in the comments from last week that she brings a grounding energy to the series.
    Thanks for the great recap! I loved it!

  2. I hated Tess’ words to Finley about not turning her mom away in the beginning and saying “we really don’t know how much time we have with anyone.” Factually, it is true, but it makes me angry when other characters give advice to stay in toxic relationships because it is (birth) family and are meant to accept toxic shit because they might regret it later on.
    Sure, I get it that this was written in order for the story with Finley and her mom to happen and I am happy and relieved that the story supported Finley in supporting her mother to leave after Carrie’s words. Further, I see that Tess was coming from having experienced loss with her mom’s death and was shown in making poor choices overall in this episode.
    While I know that there are people who have lost a family member and therefore emphasize to others to stay in contact no matter what, or regret after a death that they broke off contact with that person, there are also many instances in which people are better of without their (birth) families and consider it the best decision of their lives to end contacts that hurt them profoundly. It is absolutely legit to end a toxic contact also when this person gets sick or dies. And there are people who don’t regret their estrangement after the death of somebody. Staying in contact mostly for the sake of not regretting it later is not doing something because you want to, but because you want to avoid something in an ominous future, and that can build resentment, bitterness and anger. One can also regret not being one’s authentic self and for years holding back for toxic people’s benefit! So yes, Riese, this captures it perfectly: “Alternately, we really don’t know how much time we have left with anyone so maybe we shouldn’t be spending it with people who make us feel terrible!“
    (By the way, I loved that in Paper Girls, Mac’s brother was not in contact with his father any more and Mac said that never seeing her father again was too early, and no one challenged that or pressured them into anything, saying “but he is your father and you only have one father” or anything like that.)

    Related to that, I deeply appreciated this show highlighting the importance of chosen families and how Carrie stood up for Finley and told Finley’s mother off; that it was portrayed that Finley’s real family was the one she had found/built for herself and not the people she is related to by blood.

    • the other thing is that like, tess kind of… did know how much time she had left with her mom, like she knew her mom’s time was limited, that’s why she wanted her mom to move in with her, that’s why she was treasuring and valuing and prioritizing spending time with her. every conversation tess had about her mom indicated that she was keenly aware of this limited time.

      so i think it was weird advice on a few levels, not just that we shouldn’t spend our limited time with people who hate us but also that tess is grappling with the idea of not being aware of limited time herself.

    • my head actually flipped upside-down like the upside-down head emoji which is visually disturbing but at least we finally know for sure what that emoji represents and it is ‘watching episode 308 quality family time’

  3. “Gen Q” is a show that makes me feel seen as a Afro Latin mixed person and the distaste people have for this show is just weird to me. It’s not the original, it’s going onto new storylines and new characters. I love that. I’m also tired of the obsession with Finely. Finely literally called Sophie to come and have dinner with her racist ass mom on a day she was spending with her loving brown family. Did not seem to think about how that could be a lot for Sophie. But Sophie is the selfish mean one ??? Sophie is the problem for feeling that Finley takes up a lot of space. Finley does take up a lot of space. Sophie wants to try new things. I feel like an idiot actually believing the fandom wanted Black and non white folks in the cast. What people actually wanted was the original cast with a few new Black and other non white folks sprinkled in the mix. It’s really disturbing feeling seen as a person finally and seeing a huge portion of the fandom say the show is going to trash and hating on non white characters.
    This reminds me of “Charmed” all over again.
    I wish the writer’s would have at least written in Finley apologizing to Sophie for her Mom’s behavior and thanking Sophie for being there even though her Mom was being racist and rude. Maybe Finley wasn’t sitting at the table atm, I can’t remember now.
    Can’t wait for the comments to flood in praising the white queer and being upset with the non white one.

    • I hear you in this. Sophie is one of my favorite characters, and sometimes my frustration with how she is written is how little she is given to do, or how incongruous it seems with what we know of her character. It was a wild ask for Finely to have the whole Suarez family + chosen family like Micah and Dani come to Dana’s while she is working, and seemed mostly like a plot device to get everyone in one place. My assumption was that given their history as friends/partners Sophie knows all about Finley’s mom, so when she agreed to come she knew what she was getting herself into (indicated by what she texted Dani too). I’m not sure Finley really does need to apologize for her mom’s abhorrent behavior. What I think she could – and should – have done is explicitly thank Sophie for being there and acknowledge what a gesture of showing up for her it was (and how it impacted not just Sophie but a table full of other people). I’m not sure why they didn’t give us that moment in their closing exchange about being friends. It would also have paralleled s1 ep7 when Finley spends the day with Sophie at the hospital (and in that ep, Sophie does overtly thank her). I think one of the few things this episode got really right was showing both Sophie and Finley caring about one another, but also communicating directly about what they want, and holding those boundaries (although Sophie’s motivations/desires vis-a-vis Finely are still ambiguous to me, based on the writing/direction).

      • Agreed, I wanted an acknowledgment. I assumed Sophie only knew about Finley’s mom through stories. It seemed like Finley had very little contact with family beyond a call here and there over the years. I remember there was a call in season 1 and Finley called her family and found out she wasn’t invited to a baby shower. I though she hadn’t seen her mom in years.

      • I agree with you Kayla that the L-Word fandom overall is really racist and hating on Sophie, and I want to add also transphobic and hating on Micah (or ignoring him, or misgendering him, or saying a bunch of transphobic stuff etc.) and fatphobic and hating on Carrie. I am 100% certain that Sophie wouldn’t get this amount of hate if she was played by a white actress/her character was white. Yes, the racism and wanting the white OG characters was also the case with Charmed. It is and was horrible and it doesn’t end.
        And I agree with caitrw that Sophie seemed to know a great deal about Finley’s mother and was aware what was expecting her. Further, I agree that Finley should have expressed explicit gratitude for Sophie’s support in this episode. And I don’t think Finley has to apologize for her mother because her mother is a separate person for whom Finley is not responsible. Finley has told Sophie enough about her mother so Sophie can make the decision for herself. Not sure whether Sophie’s whole family knew this deal as well, but it seemed to me that they did.
        Sophie showing up knowing that Finley’s mother is a bigot is something I can relate to. My partner is trans and my estranged mom is transphobic; and my partner says that if I ever see my mom again, they will be with me regardless, because – in my partner’s words – my mom will not stand between my partner and me, and they expressed that I and my well-being is more important to them than my mother’s bullshit. They keep reminding me that I am nor responsible for my family – any member.

        • Let’s not forget the transphobia towards Tess. People hate her wayyy to much. Why are we asking her to fall off of a cliff and just disappear??? Like she is a fully formed character and not that annoying imo. I find Carrie annoying and I would be okay if she just left the show, but I’m happy other people see themselves in her/ love her. There are so many characters in “Gen Q,” I’ll live.

          Micah is bae. I’ll fight all y’all for him. Micah our least problematic king.

          I am all here for a critique on the “Charmed” reboot. But the way people acted like the new cast was disrespecting the OG cast. Like no, it was for Afro Latins like me. I had people in my family who practiced Santeria. I have people in my family with recent black ancestry, who don’t know how to grapple with their blackness (like Maggie, although that was a VERY small plot point.) I love seeing white characters race swapped. It is interesting to see how they will navigate the world. How would a black Buffy (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) navigate a new school like Sunnydale after she happened to leave her old school? Was her old school predominately black and her new school is predominately white? Does Black Buffy get stopped by the cops a lot, and grapples with the fact that she has saved the people who have arrested her as well? Does she just want to skip town because of the anti blackness? I mean she can fight the forces of evil elsewhere right? Okay… Now I’m on a tangent. *ahem*

          I can see the Finley’s mom thing being interpreted in different ways. I am now realizing I saw it from one angle. The angle of how I would be tired. So fucking tired. Sophie might have known, you’re right. My spouse spends time with their racist family members (2-4 a year for a few hours) alone. I love them, but I love my peace more. On those days it’s nice to have the house to myself (we both work from home).

          Thank you for taking the time to respond, thank you for your perspective.

          • Hi Kayla, it is true! The Tess hate is wayyyy to much. And as with others, the reason for this hate is not stated explicitly by fans. Commenters on YouTube don’t say: “I hate Micah because I am transphobic,” or “I hate Carrie because I only want to see thin characters,” or “I hate Sophie because I want to see white people and I have a problem with Black lesbians on my screen.” They find other reasons that are so blown out of proportion!
            The thing is, I also don’t like Tess! But I blame the writers for giving her these lines and for writing her character in this way. But people wanting her to die is another whole level!
            And with Charmed, the racist hate was extremely intense. And also absurd, which doesn’t make it less awful. I looked so much forward to the series, and I really wanted to like it because it had lots of potential! However I was disappointed with the thin storylines. But that is quite a different matter to the OG fandom and some former OG actresses who were just hostile and evil to the actresses and trashing them, their acting skills, everything…
            I would also love to see a Black Buffy navigating her way in highschool and the issues you proposed. Does Black Buffy rescue a white racist cop from vampires? How would she deal with having superpowers and being treated as the “angry Black woman”? How would she be criminalized in a way that white Buffy never would?
            It is sad that we’ll never get to see Black Buffy and that this idea is dead :(
            I understand your perspective and your decision not to join your spouse for visiting their racist family members. It is good that you look after yourself and your peace instead of going out of obligation and that your spouse’s family’s racism is going on your expense and your health.

          • i do wanna add re: tess that tess isn’t trans, jamie clayton wanted to play a cis character and so they wrote tess as cis. which was sad to find out bc trans representation in lesbian media is so lacking, which drew wrote about here. that said, viewers know jamie is trans, so that still impacts how people feel about her i’m sure!

            but anyhow… my job is to talk about all the characters and how i feel about them, so I do, but i agree with u kayla that i have never really understood the fandom conviction that the characters you personally like are the only ones who deserve the spotlight or stories.

            like one thing that has been fascinating to me is that this website and the podcast got a lot of backlash for being critical at all the past two seasons, especially season two. writers at other publications who published anything negative about the show were subjected to a lot of fan harassment.

            but … now that bette and tina are gone, suddenly we’re being asked to be more critical and it’s suddenly okay for people to be mad at the show. because with gigi seemingly gone and tibette gone (and jennifer seemingly uninterested in future seasons, although tbd on that), they no longer care if the show survives.

          • The Tess hate is totally warranted. And it’s really just about the character, nit transphobia. That’s been a poorly written character from the jump. Remember her weird advice about sandwiches in the first season? Her dialogue is always a head scratcher. She’s always saying something that’s supposed to be poignant or heartfelt or funny but the writing never actually *is* any of those things. And to be honest I haven’t seen Jaime Clayton in anything else, so maybe it’s just the bad material, but her delivery as Tess is always like watching a copy of a copy of a copy of someone acting. The kind of acting where rather than immersing in the character as a viewer, you’re super aware that this is a person acting. Ya know?

            If transness comes into question at all, it’s literally the result of Jaime requesting that Tess be cis. I remember in the first few eps having to work really hard to get over Jaime clearly being a transwoman and but Tess being cis. It didn’t match up and served as a distraction. Which is a bummer. That fact really distracts from her scenes and pulls you out of the story. I so wish the show had just had Tess be trans, which would line up and probably make the character more tolerable. So, I actually think the hate isn’t some sort of transphobia, rather it’s that Jaime’s transness is being erased which has all sorts of negative impacts on the character and the story and the show.

          • To Fin fin’s comment, I’d just like to point out that saying “having to work really hard to get over Jaime clearly being a transwoman and but Tess being cis” as an argument against transphobia doesn’t really serve the purpose you think it does. Jamie is a woman, Tess is a woman, there’s not much to “get over” there.

            The decision to make Tess cis is a whole other discussion but it doesn’t excuse a lot of the treatment towards the character/the actress.

      • yeah sophie is one of my favorite characters to, and i often relate to her good decisions and her bad ones and also have been at times frustrated by how she’s been written — i feel like her storyline somehow became finley’s instead of her own, but also most of what happened between her and finley was incoherent anyhow! i hope that this isn’t the last season of the show ’cause I just want so much more time with her.

        and yeah kayla i agree that it’s really fucked how the fandom is so biased towards white characters (and bette). the hate for pippa because she wasn’t tina was particularly frustrating.

        • You’re right, Tess is not trans, but since fans know she is played by a trans actress, the direct or disguised transphobia is always very present and so, so ugly!
          I genuinely don’t understand why people were so angry at your recaps/the podcasts being critical last year! That is literally your job. How much fun is a podcast if you all were just like “And this was great! And that was amazing!” It makes no sense to me. I might not spot many errors in the timeline or inconsistencies, but I love it that you do and am grateful for the critical perspective and the expansion of my horizon! Thanks for the funny, smart and amazing recaps and the great podcasts, they make my weeks brighter and bring me so much joy!

        • Riese, I am a huge fan of your recaps and recently wanted to read your older ones but noticed that there is a gap on the website between 1×01 and 4×01. I looked for your old blog “The Road Best Straddled” but couldn’t find it. Is there any place on the internet where I can read the recaps from season 1 to season 3 of the OG series? Thanks for your reply in advance!
          Signed, a grateful fan of your writing, both L-Word and personal essays

          • aww that’s so nice!!!

            i actually didn’t recap seasons 1-3… well, i recapped season 3 a little bit, like from the dvds cuz i was practicing to be a real recapper when season 4 started, but they were like bad mini-caps.

            i did take ‘the road best straddled’ down cuz it’s a mess of broken links and jokes that do not stand the test of time! but there are “To L and Back” episodes for all of those episodes! I did season one with kristin russo and then seasons 2-6 with carly!

          • Thanks for the response Riese, that is so good to know! Great, I will listen to the podcasts then. So far I haven’t because it takes longer than reading an article and they don’t have a transcript. English isn’t my first language and I don’t understand everything immediately, which is why I tend to listen and read them at the same time. In any case, I appreciate that the newer podcasts have transcripts, also for people with hearing impairments.

            Very grateful for your amazing work and for bringing this community together!

            PS: No “reply to this comment”-button is showing up for me underneath your actual comment, and the same is true for other comments on this article, so I am posting it here.

        • this is such a good point about Sophie’s storyline becoming more Finley’s than her own.

          And that was always sort of the dynamic in s1, that she was defined largely in relation to Dani and their relationship and how it was/n’t working.

          I want more Sophie!

          But if their solution is just to give her that musical solo to declare “I’m making my choices about ME now!” (A song that Rosanny killed at in execution, even if I personally was befuddled by its assessment of codependency), and getting her nipples pierced, and calling it a day, that’s not enough.

          I feel like this question of molding yourself into your relationships is a big one maybe especially in lesbian/queer experiences, so why not let Sophie reflect on that in part by writing storylines that allow her to explore other interests, traits, etc? Maybe we actually get to see her doing some documentary film work. Maybe she gets super into urban foraging. Or stages a pop-up production of Lez Girls at the second Dana’s location. There are so many things she could get into!

        • Sophie is also one of my favs and I have always been confused by the fandom hate. I do think the way she is written can be confusing- I take season 1 Sophie as canon and then the places in season 2 and 3 where that Sophie is present as canon- some of the other stuff is just inconsistent, and sometimes outright contradictory, writing. But never does it make me hate her! She’s complicated, as are all humans.

    • Yeah I hear you – I think people pile on Sophie wayyyy too much and it frankly makes me feel insane when it’s the same people that are obsessed with much more selfish characters like Bette! I was frustrated with Sophie in re: to her break up with Finley, just because it came out of nowhere, but honestly my frustration was more with the writers than Sophie herself.

      Sophie was back to her originally established character this episode, and I agree I was also a bit frustrated that she was expected to just pick up her family’s thanksgiving to support Finley. Finley did seem very apologetic and like it was a last resort, but still think she could’ve just called Carrie! And if they wanted Finley and Sophie in the same place for drama, just have Sophie’s family having dinner there too!

      • Exactly! I’m not saying Sophie is a saint, but I think people go too far sometimes. She should have just called Carrie, I agree. Finley can pull a fire alarm to avoid speaking to Sophie, but can’t hide away from her mom and say she’s too busy AT WORK.

        I don’t feel like the breakup came out of no where. Sophie realized her history of cheating, realized she wanted something else, realized she maybe needed to be alone (even though she did try and jump Dre’s bones). But that’s my opinion and how I relate to the character. I do think Sophie can be a jackass, but it seems like some of the fandom forgets Finley’s digressions VERY QUICKLY. Like trying to force an apology onto Dani, going to her house piss drunk, and pissing at Dani’s doorway. And that’s just 1 example.

        • Yeah I didn’t necessarily take issue with Sophie ending things (well I did on a personal level because I love them together haha, but from a logical story perspective), if she had done so for the reasons you mentioned. It just annoyed me they chalked it up to codependency because we didn’t see her life have to change at all to accommodate Finley’s sobriety – but again, my issue was more so with the portrayal of alcoholism/sobriety/codependency, not even Sophie as a character necessarily. To me it would’ve made more sense to ground the break-up in things they were actually having issues with.

          I agree Finley gets away with more than Sophie, as does Dani, to be honest. Sure she didn’t do anything like cheat, but she was far from a perfect partner in their relationship, and everyone’s very quick to jump on blaming Sophie for everything. And beyond even blaming her – being unable to forgive her, or allow her the grace they give every other character. And as others have said, Dre seems to be facing the same hate, and they haven’t even done anything wrong except be extremely hot! It’s so gross

          • “And beyond even blaming her – being unable to forgive her, or allow her the grace they give every other character.”

            This sentence! This sentence right here! Thank you!!! This is exactly what my issue is with the so called “fandom”. Sophie isn’t allowed to grow from or learn from her mistakes.

      • I agree with the deep frustrations about inconsistent writing for Sophie’s character. Thinking about it now, I actually feel like this episode earlier in the season could have foreshadowed the breakup well. Moving family Thanksgiving to the bar was such a silly plot-driven thing to do…even though it all ended up as a group hug for Finley at the end I feel like this could have been more interesting as an actually indicator of Sophie’s codependency that we’ve been told about but not really seen. It’s so real (and gay) to have a partner who is a mess but you love them and so you start doing absurd things like moving your whole family’s Thanksgiving with or without them asking and you feel like it’s what you have to do but then deep down you resent it a little because they do take up a lot of space and you want them to have all that space but not at your expense…just some musings. That could have put some actual weight and logic to their breakup.

        Additional note on racism in the fandom is I’ve seen totally vile comments about Dre and do agree overall that whiteness absolutely dictates who is messy but forgivable vs. an unpopular or irredeemable character.

        • People act like being completely hateful to a wild degree about FICTIONAL character is normal.
          I get not liking Sophie, but Finley is not a victim of Sophie. Finley is not a perfect character. She does take up a lot of space. I do LOVE seeing Finley with Carrie. Carrie will tell Finley the truth and they compliment each other (as family, not lovers). It’s sweet.

          Yes 100% to the last part.

        • Omg Cris you solved it. This feels like the out of order storyline for Micah and Maribel last season when the jealousy happened at the wrong time. Sophie’s codependency is showing up for the very first time this episode, and if it’d come before the musical, that would’ve made wayyyyyyyyy more sense.

      • The hate against Dre is something I noticed as well. Granted, I ship Dani more with Roxy, but that doesn’t change the fact that the hate/dislike against Sophie, Micah, Dre and also Carrie (not on Autostraddle, but in many other places of the internet) is just disproportionate. It seems to me that many, if not most of the L-Word fandom who write comments want to see white cis-women (or women of color who are light-skinned like Bette and Gigi) who are thin, rich and very successful (e.g. Helena). It makes me angry how easily and readily people seem to forgive Bette, Tina, Alice etc. for whatever the shit they did, and then hating on characters who are not white, not thin, not successful career-wise… These double standards irritate me and set my teeth on edge.

        • I don’t even want to know what the fandom is saying about Dre (I’m mostly on Autostraddle for my “Gen Q” news). That’s really messed up, the only thing Dre is guilty of (for now) is being boring. I think they’re so boring XD
          ” It makes me angry how easily and readily people seem to forgive Bette, Tina, Alice etc. for whatever the shit they did, and then hating on characters who are not white, not thin, not successful career-wise…”
          I never thought of it that way, you’re right. It’s not just the non white characters who are receiving hate.
          Side note: Bette always killed me with the “people know I’m black.” No… They don’t. I really wished the original really explored that aspect of her character further. When Angie spoke to Bette about needing to be around black folks that looked like her after Aunt Kit died, that could have been a great moment.

        • I also only follow Gen Q on Autostraddle so my sense of the general fandom must be very skewed.

          Like, I get having particular characters you inexplicably relate to, or favored ‘ships, but I wasn’t aware of this general vitriol. I adore Sophie (I am Sophie and want to be with Sophie according to those AS quizzes 😂), her family, Micah, Pippa (although I’m glad she escaped from Bette when she did), also Dre (who while under developed strikes me as meshing better with Dani than Gigi did – I love Gigi and still mourn her absence but it always felt to me like she and Dani were at different places in their lives). And I love Tess sometimes but I feel like she is one of the most I incoherently written characters?

          Also please writers room I beg you give Leo more to do. Every season his character is pigeonholed into basically a single storyline that has limited depth

        • People hate Dre? Why? Dre is written as a very likeable character. I kind of like them with Dani even if I don’t think they are endgame. I do think race plays into how forgiving people are both on the show and in life.

      • Here’s the thing about the Sophie Thanksgiving thing. Sophie could have easily said hey yea I’ll pop by for a few, provided support and then returned home to her plans. What’s bonkers is that the whole family had to pack up and do thanksgiving elsewhere. Like huh? So again that’s more of a fail from the writing than from Sophie the character or Finley the character.

    • Kayla it has nothing to do with Sophie being of color. 🙄 That is such a tired discussion. It’s just the inconsistency in the writing of her character. They make her so self involved sometimes, then, in eps like this one, she’s back to the Sophie we all fell in love with in Season 1. Unfortunately your confusing critique of how the characters are written with race bias. Finley is written consistently as a person with a ton of heart but usually makes mistakes or bad calls. That’s why no one is bothered by her. Then they write Sophie into making all these really heartless decisions, when they had established Sophie as a good hearted person as well. That’s all that’s being reacted to. The writers inadvertently make her a monster every couple eps lately, so as a viewer you’re confronted with a character acting really out of character, which makes you dislike them. And trust me, I take no delight in disliking Sophie’s character lately. I also would like to see Sophie and Finley in their happy little cocoon! And I loved the little taste of that we got in this ep.

      • Hi fin fin fin, I agree with so many of the things you’re expressing, but it’s a bummer when a generally great comment writes off valid criticism like what Kayla and others are saying!

        Specifically, totally with you that “ Finley is written consistently as a person with a ton of heart but usually makes mistakes or bad calls”, and that’s why I too really enjoy having her on screen! And also the fact that Sophie’s being written inconsistently doesn’t HAVE to be a racially charged call on the writers’ room. Most characters are written inconsistently on this show, and I’m totally assuming good intentions of the writers!!!
        That said, could it be possible that it’s more socially acceptable for viewers to hate on Sophie and Tess when they’re written inconsistently than for viewers to hate on characters portrayed by actors that look more like Finley? Seems like online vitriol towards those characters is a pattern that comes up across multiple shows. I’m glad Kayla and others are bringing up these points!

      • This comment is a great example of why a lot of people feel gaslit by the L Word fandom.
        Read all the comments in the thread under my comment. I’m not the only one who feels this way.
        Next time a non white person says they feel ostricized by a show’s white fanbase you don’t need to roll your eyes. You can step back and think about how we feel (even if you are non white yourself, we are not a monolith) without commenting how we’re wrong.
        Also, not everyone loves Finley… That’s a generalization.
        I have always been annoyed by her, but I’m glad others have her as representation, a crush, etc.
        I have a degree in English, I’ve spent years analyzing literature and tv. Academically and for fun. I understand what a critique is. Non white, trans and fat characters are generally not allowed to be as problematic as the straight sized, white/light skinned, cis are.
        If that’s not how you feel, feel free to scroll past my comment. But don’t make generalizations, roll your eyes, and tell me my valid criticism (even if I could have written my criticism more coherently) is wrong.

      • fin fin fin nope stop. the way you are talking about this is not allowed as per our comment policy (see section C7), telling a person of color that something is not about race and then rolling your eyes, or saying things like “I remember in the first few eps having to work really hard to get over Jaime clearly being a transwoman and but Tess being cis” (it’s trans woman, by the way, two separate words) are not ok.

        I’d really advise sitting with Kayla’s very generous suggestion that they laid out in their comment response to you:
        “Next time a non white person says they feel ostricized by a show’s white fanbase you don’t need to roll your eyes. You can step back and think about how we feel (even if you are non white yourself, we are not a monolith) without commenting how we’re wrong.”

        • wow. I’ve been a fan of Autostraddle up to this point but yikes on this. really invalidating that people can’t have open discourse here. only some people can speak freely then? i could see if something threatening was being said, but nothing is being said rly other than disagreeing and then sharing one experience as a
          viewer. not loving this look, Autostraddle

          • i’ve experiences the same in the past where my, in my opinion fine comments about how people can blankly deny dating people who have certain traits is okay and not immediately bigotry, got deleted. also my words were twisted and me saying nobody has to date X was taken up as if i had said anything against people dating X, which, that is not the same lmao.

            in this case, sure, neither side can KNOW whether, or, to which degree, sophies reception has to do with her race, and the eye rolling emoji isn’t a friendly move, but is it really that bad?

        • Riese, on what grounds are you being so discriminatory? This podcast has been the MOST critical about Tess the character. I could literally cite Tess jokes along the way. I want to say Drew has infact done some hard eye rolls on the pod about Jaime being cis. So this isn’t new territory?

          Oh god, an emoji, ban them for life! Lol again, k? I’m gonna guess Autostraddle needs all the ad dollars they can get.
          So maybe don’t shit on the smartest of your commenters.

        • I’d incorrectly assumed the comment policy would be terms-and-conditions style legalese to justify when comments needed to be removed. But woah, I’m actually INSPIRED by reading it? Thank you Autostraddle writers and editors for your content moderation. And for explaining to the rest of us so clearly not just what’s banned but what you want us to do re responding to stuff that should actually be deleted. Even if it took me years to actually read the policy, damn I’m kind of in awe?

    • FWIW as a Black viewer (although not Afro-Latin!) I’ve always been frustrated and disappointed by Sophie’s characterization. All the characters have suffered from inconsistent writing and nonsense plotlines, but at least the other two Gen Q’s still feel pretty clearly defined as people.

      Dani’s a no-nonsense career woman who has trouble showing vulnerability but actually loves and hurts very deeply.

      Finley is a well-meaning fuck-up who never learned to process her own self-loathing and is constantly trying to escape from/apologize for herself in ways that just make it worse.

      Sophie is…….a liar? A cheater? We know she loses herself in her partners, but who is she without them? The writers really haven’t told us. Apparently Marja Lewis has said Sophie is the character she most identifies with, and it shows, because she feels like a self-insert with no direction of her own. At best, I find her uninspiring, and at worst, I find her deeply unsympathetic. Her scenes with her sister and their family are always fantastic, but it’s because of them, not her.

      So, while there’s definitely a subset of the fandom that’s way more critical of Sophie because she’s Black, there’s also, to me, a legitimate disconnect with her character and underlying complaint is that Black characters deserve *better*.

      Because they’ve all been done dirty!! Compelling characters like Quiara and Pippa and Tom are never given the chance to grow across seasons, while others, like Dre (sorry!) and That Man are just dry af. Angie and Maribel have been standouts for sure, but they’ve been trapped in such weird and bad subplots this season. I don’t know. Gen Q has some of the highest visibility of Blackness out of anything I watch, but it’s still been *so* unsatisfying. The show desperate needs Black characters that are as vibrant and complex as, say, Carrie or Nat or Tess.

      • I’ll have to do a full rewatch of “Gen Q.” Because I have always liked Sophie and I don’t feel that way.
        Gigi is my favorite though. And then Micah and Mirabel.
        But if multiple people are saying this, I could be missing something.

        I wanted Tom and Alice to get back together so badly!!! I felt like he broke up with me for a moment 🤣

        What they did to Quiara was trashy, then Shane was like, “This is why sex is bad.” 🙃 What??!??

        Dre is so boring 🫠 Dre is just there for eye candy, but has very little personality. Beyond their stud powers, what can Dre do?

        Black representation has always been so bad on this show, especially for having so many ACTUAL BLACK PEOPLE. I still laugh and lose it whenever I have flashbacks to Bette telling everyone that she is visibly black. Like no, but we could have had great convos on being a white presenting black person. But we never did.

        A lot of “L Word” is black people in the white queer community. I live in the south currently and the black queer community is very different.

    • Kayla!! OMG I literally had this discussion in another L word group and man, I was told “It wasn’t that deep” and that because I’m a person of color I am “making this up in my mind to make sense why people don’t like this character and blaming it on race”. They are wayyyy harsher on the POC characters, especially Sophie, then they are of any of the other non POC characters doing or exhibiting the same toxic behaviors!

  4. I like that they acknowledged white settler colonialism in a Thanksgiving episode. However, I have some notes. “Let us honor those who lost their sovereignty or died on this land” is not accurate. Better would be: “Let us honor those whose land was stolen by white settlers and the government and let us honor those who were massacred by them in a genocide.” Also, saying: “…and thank for the opportunity to live on their traditional homeland” – what? They did not give you permission to live there! Your opportunity, as you call it, is based on state-sanctioned genocide. How are you thanking people who were robbed, displaced and murdered?
    While I truly appreciate to include this part, I think that acknowledgement itself is not enough. This is not about this show alone. In Canada, so many people acknowledge this as a ritual when events start, but then what happens? As I see it, to only do this is performative.

    • Yeah, I didn’t understand what was going on with this land acknowledgment. It seemed like the show was portraying it as if it were a good thing when it’s really just performative nothing

  5. I have been awaiting this recap with a probably unflattering degree of eagerness, and I had written out my thoughts on the episode already and they mirror your coupled delight and frustration, Riese. I had not thought of your suggestion that Finley’s mom get drunk rather than Tess—and that would have been such a smart writing choice, and would have also softened a lot of their irrational edges of those dynamics/dialogue that as they are now don’t make a ton of sense.

    The only thing I was not fully prepared for but SHOULD have been was how good the screengrab captions are. Do they get better every week? Yes! Now I just wish I could say the same about this show.

    *

    Does Tess continue to hand out off-base advice that is virtually always more about what’s going on with her than the person she’s giving advice to? Has Dani adjusted surprisingly well to having Finley as part of her friend group and becoming close with Sophie? Is Finley shockingly ok being around Dre given how preoccupied she was previously? Was Rosie forced to read a Wikipedia definition of “demisexual”? Yes to all. And yet, I bought it. And I really liked many things about this episode! Somehow the friendship dynamics, the banter, the complexity of the histories and relationships––even if it wasn’t realistic, within the heightened world of this show a lot of these things landed for me (and I for one am very happy that the show is now writing Sophie’s mother and grandmother accepting Micah and Mari’s relationships with love and enthusiasm rather than holding onto that out-of-nowhere painful/resistant lunch scene in season 2).

    Angie with Uncle Shane was such a missed opportunity. Much as I like the dynamic of these two together, WHAT IS GOING ON? What are the writers trying to do with Angie’s storyline? I am honestly bewildered. What a missed opportunity for the two of them to have a conversation about why that relationship was so problematic––and Shane would offer a very different (and likely compassionate) perspective than, say, Bette or the roommate Bella, so why sidestep that opportunity and instead just have Angie be like “he dumped me”?

    Can we please not do another Tess relapse? Why? There is so much more they could do with this character. Even—in line with the thesis of this episode—about how now that her mom is gone and things are rocky with Shane she feels like she doesn’t have chosen family/support like some of the other characters. Jamie Clayton was acting her face off in the ash-spreading scene, and I wish they had just let us sit with that grief and loneliness rather than having Tess monologue inane Hallmark card platitudes about dancing like nobody’s watching and creating chosen family (yet another instance where I want this show to SHOW not tell—because they were already showing it through the rest of the episode!).

    I loved seeing Carrie holding Finley’s mom accountable—it really makes you believe how she could be a DA even as she also this quirky, bumbling person in other contexts. The writing on this show is always best when it is specific, and I appreciate some of the detail and call-backs in these exchanges (like Finley starting her amends with apologizing for getting drunk at her sister’s wedding and calling her mom a cunt, 10/10).

    All of this would have felt more authentic if we had been given more insight into why her mom is the way she is, beyond her “I married young” and Sophie’s “She doesn’t hate you she hates herself” but, oh well? I get it that some people are just mean, some parents are toxic, but it felt like it was laid on with too broad strokes here, and we don’t even get a sense of her motivation for coming here.

    I guess it’s good that Showtime has no chill and they always immediately reassure viewers in the teaser for the next episode that the dramatic cliffhanger does not end in the DEATH of a beloved character?—first Gigi, now Carrie—but that ends up making me feel like the emotional drama is extra cheap, and pointless, and in this case, even offensive, at least the way it was coupled with the 5k conversations.

    I have enjoyed how not having the OG’s dominate the narrative arcs has opened up more time and space for the Gen Q cast, including secondary characters like Sophie’s family (abuela!) and Carrie and Misty. I wish the writer’s room had your idea to make a Sophie-focused episode which might also help us understand what is going on with her this season. Maybe they feel like the musical filled that purpose? (it did not.)

    As one of 17 people still mourning Sinley’s breakup, I couldn’t tell whether this ep was setting up a slow transition back to friendship, or a future possibility of getting back together? Thoughts, other Sinley fans? Obviously a big part of me hopes the latter, but also—in one thread on an earlier recap this season, someone perceptively noted how few storylines of unrequited love this show has, and if they choose to go this route I think it would make sense with how we’ve seen the relationship unfold. I think Sophie was in love with Finley for sure, but I also think you could make an argument based on what we saw that there was from the beginning some degree of imbalance (if not at all to the degree of the didactic song lyrics that played over last episode’s opening of sad-Finley: “You told me you needed time / I think some part of me knew / you never loved me the way I loved you / you never touched me the way I touched you” lol. I actually have to pause sometimes because the musical cues are so on the nose and SO BAD that I’m going to miss dialogue because I’m laughing.

    Finally, following on the pod discussion last week about this fairly sex-less (and usually extremely brief and/or mostly clothed) season, I’ve been thinking about this more. Was it possibly a result of Showtime merging with Paramount? (JT was on Cameron Esposito’s podcast Queery earlier this fall and they talked at some length about doing sex scenes and TLW and Jacqueline referenced not wanting to spoil upcoming sex scenes on the show which makes me think…where are they? And also, maybe episodes 9 and 10 will deliver? And also, if you watch season 1 or even 2 after seeing recent episodes, the absence and how subdued the scenes are comparatively is striking.

    There were so many moments in this episode that landed (and JT was so great! Finley/Carrie are my favorite thing about this season), it makes me even more frustrated that we only have 2 more episodes. I feel like in the last few they are finally finding their stride for how to bring the Gen Q characters together—although it’s strange to me how much Alice has been on the outside of that this season, like we see her connected to Shane and sometimes to Sophie, but have we even seen her speak to Finley this season?—and now we’re going to swing back to Tibette, and maybe a wedding (if the season 3 tease announcement was any indication… I have no desire to see Tibette renew their vows or Micah and Mari continue to play out this strangely conservative/boring/bizarrely rendered because of how unhinged from the reality of queer conception it seems to be storyline of “esposo” and having a baby), and then the season and maybe/probably the series will be done forever. And Gigi may never return (perhaps the greatest travesty of this season). At least I’ll forever be able to rewatch the “What are you doing buddy” scene.

    • From the beginning of Sinley I’ve felt an imbalance between the 2. It’s not bad, it just is what it is.
      This episode just cemented that Sinley shouldn’t happen imo. Finley called on Sophie to be there on Thanksgiving with her bigot mom and never even apologized or acknowledged that it might have been annoying???
      What I wanted Finley to say: “Thanks for coming, my Mom’s a bigot and you could have stayed home with your family today. But you chose to support me.”
      I’m not mad at Finley, I am just okay with them not being end game. They seem better separated.
      My white spouse supports me through other people’s (their family….) white shenanigans. Finely never even touched up on that.

      I’ll miss GiGi, that was my girl!!
      I am tired of TiBette. I started rewatching the original and their relationship was filled with a disturbing about of cheating and Bette just running Tina over. 1 silent retreat and a big romantic gesture doesn’t wipe it all away. Although I am willing to suspend my disbelief for a happy ending.

      Excuse my crap grammar, it’s the end of a work week. My vision is blurry from staring at the computer too much and my brain is going into sleep mode.

      • Kayla, I also wanted Finley to name what Sophie did by coming, and to articulate how much it meant to her. I think her gratitude is implicit in how she acts but it is wild to me that she did not directly acknowledge it. I think not saying it is a sign that Finley can still be so in her own drama that she ends up self-absorbed (not like she’s the only one on this show! Ahem Bette)

        I will overlook your grammar if you ignore how many times I accidentally typed Finely! :)

        • Thank you for acknowledging this/me. It may sound overdramatic, but the comment sections for these articles are really draining. As a former English major, these types of articles AND the comment sections used to be fun to read. I feel like I am being gaslit when people talk about Sophie being so horrible. Like what am I not seeing? All I see are imperfect people in a show I enjoy watching.
          It’s like there was a push for more non white people in “Gen Q.” But now no one likes the non white characters and wants more of the original white (white presenting in Bette’s case)cast. Except Gigi, we all love Gigi.
          And it’s not like the OG “L Word,” was fantastic writing. I will always love the mess though!

          • Kayla, I just want to say that this does not sound overdramatic at all. I understand. Having racism at every corner of the fandom sucks all the fun out of reading comments of a show one likes. And the additional gaslighting, because allegedly no one hates Sophie due to racism but because she cheated (question: who didn’t cheat?)! No one hates Micah due to transphobia and racism, it’s allegedly just his character! I am always dreadful of the transphobia on YouTube and commenters misgendering and lamenting on why there is a trans guy since this is a show about lesbians blah blah…
            It sucks so incredibly hard to a) being confronted with racism in a space that should be fun (or in any space really) and b) to be gaslit that it has nothing to do with racism.
            Thanks for voicing your critique, and please know that you are not alone, that you are seen and your points are well taken!

          • Just a quick note to say that this is my first comment on Autostraddle (and actually any website tbh) and I’m sorry that this can be draining for you when others can’t be as thoughtful/respectful! I look forward to the recaps and all of the thoughtful comments (including yours) each week and it’s part of the community around this show. Thanks for your thoughts and insights here (and you too @caitrw).

            On another note, I love the show and the new Gen Q characters. I wish the writing were better this season. Seasons 1 and Seasons 2 felt like they were much more well-written with time for the characters to breathe and develop more.

            This episode was one of my favorites – I thought the dialogue between Finley/Carrie was a lot better, the Angie/Shane interaction despite being puzzling in some ways was very cute and sweet, I love Sophie’s family, Micah being high was quite funny. Dani happyish is great to see.

            Like others I hope Sophie gets more time this season (or in a fourth!) and that the writers get it together for next season and just make a better show.

            And I am super annoyed at the lack of sex scenes this season!! Such a weird choice and this show is supposed to be sexy! It’s not all it’s about but like they are averaging way less than one sex scene per episode. This season is not hot!

        • Kayla, I’ve felt since season one like it’s really uncomfortable how often Sophie is employed to smooth out or to quickly forgive something that Finley’s done. It’s really hard because I think Finley has gotten the most writing overall and the clearest attempts at character development to work with across the three seasons out of the new characters, and she’s also been pretty effectively incorporated with the original cast members (unlike Micah, sadly, or even Dani in a Bette-free zone), so I bristle whenever Sophie’s screen time is devoted to smoothing something over for Finley.

          I actually like their chemistry and would like them to be together if the show would just allow Sophie to acknowledge to Finley’s face that she does indeed perceive Finley’s missteps and understand that other people aren’t unreasonable for being upset at Finley, and then let her apologize (at appropriate places and times). I want Sophie to really internalize how normal Dani and Mari are for being annoyed at how easily Finley can rebound from almost any bad behavior without even really making waves.

          I like S1 Sophie, and the idea of her as a person who addresses feelings as they come, and one who can and will hold other people to the same expectation. I feel like her characterization in S2 and S3 has been all over the map in ways that don’t make any sense to me. I don’t mind her showing up for Finley here, because I want to only think of the Suarez fam as loving and welcoming almost to a fault, and because I like to think that they all remember that Finley showed up for Sophie when she thought she might lose her Abuela, but yeah, I also did not love the optics of calling up a rolodex of people of color and queer people to have a holiday meal with a racist homophobe instead of just telling Finley’s rude mom to kick rocks for the day.

          • This right here is it.
            Sophie brushes off Dani’s annoyance with Finley too much. Dani’s not being a bitch, she just needs some extreme space from the person who peed on her doorstep and barged into her wedding.

            Finley calling Sophie for help on Thanksgiving is on brand as well. It’s not like that was something Finley would have never done and the writer’s miswrote her character in that moment. I feel like (to my memory) Finley has not acknowledged racism or her privilege or how annoying she is as a person. Finley repeatedly bowled over people who said they needed space/ or asked Finley to not do something. Dani and Carrie are more recent examples.

            I agree with everything you said, you articulated my feelings perfectly.

            I just want some acknowledgment from Finley the “Gen Q” character. I just constantly see her acting super privileged and rude A LOT. And if Finley acts this way, then no I don’t want her ending up with Sophie. I want better for Sophie and it’s bizarre that others aren’t acknowledging that. Then I come to the comment section and I get bombarded with, “Finley the saint, Sophie the buttface.”

            Fictional and real Black, brown, non white folks deserve better. Including better writing and better fictional relationships. Less racist fandoms, all of it.

          • Mina, you are so right. Finley definitely has seemed to be the primary vehicle for story development among the Gen Q characters; even in season 1, when Sophie’s characterization did seem much more consistent and of a piece, her whole arc was about running up against the ways that Dani wasn’t being the kind of partner she needed/wanted her to be––so even then, her plot was tied up entirely in another character/that relationship––whereas Finley was grappling with her faith, her troubled upbringing, Rebecca, already heavily suggesting her fraught relationship with alcohol, and then the will-they-won’t-they tension with Sophie. Because I find JT very winning as Finley (even while acknowledging how entitled this character can be, and asserting herself in ways that don’t respect other people’s clearly stated boundaries), I probably overlook these imbalances in the writing far more than I should. I really appreciated this thread including Kayla, and Butch4Butch, and Em Drobs.

    • I too can’t tell if Sinley will be reuniting, especially with the writing being hard to predict, or if they’re supposed to just go back to being friends. Personally, I think they have way too much chemistry and sexual tension to just be friends, especially in comparison to Sophie and Dani who really do seem to have believably settled into a really just friends dynamic without said sexual tension, and Finley saying she’s still in love with Sophie does give me hope. I’m hoping for at least maybe a hook up, even if ill advised! Love these characters and want them to heal healthily, but I also love drama!

    • i saw and was recapping from the screener, which i got five days ago and doesn’t have that “next on,” but i had a feeling the “next on” was gonna be reassuring us that carrie was alive and well, so i pulled up the actual episode the moment it came out just to confirm as much! but yeah, if anything that makes it feel even cheaper. and why do that when there’s so much already set up here that we could be teasing out a bit more instead of introducing a new will-they-die cliffhanger and some instant trauma for finley/carrie, which previously was a highlight of the season for me. there’s opportunities there already just for tension within carrie/finley/tess now that tess is relapsing and also continuing to steer finley towards doing amends really poorly and seemingly setting herself up as a foil to sophie for no real reason. and your point about her lack of chosen family is good, too — who’s tess’s sponsor? who are her friends? who was she hanging out with besides Lena before Shane came into her life?

      i also can’t tell what they’re setting up with sophie & finley! I mean, i obviously hope it’s a reunion, or that there is a will-they won’t-they thing that continues through the season and maybe! even into a season four? it feels like if JT is doing a sex scene this season, it would have to be with sophie, right?

      “Angie with Uncle Shane was such a missed opportunity. Much as I like the dynamic of these two together, WHAT IS GOING ON? “ Yes, agree! I love the dynamic but what a missed opportunity! It seems like they’re gonna have Tina and Bette confronting Hendrix next episode, but you can’t avoid a thing that would logically come up in conversation in one scene to enable a more surprising one in the next episode. and if you are, angie should’ve been clearly avoiding mentioning that he was her teacher instead of what felt like it was being framed as incidental.

    • @caitrw, I just want to say that I am always happy to see and read your thoughtful, smart and interesting comments and that I like the points you make. There are so many observations and opinions I would undersign without any hesitation, and your comments always give me more insights and food for thought.
      I also have no clue whether Sophie and Finley are being set up for getting back together, but I hope so! Even though the bad writing has damaged this ship unfortunately. But I blame the writers and continue to hold out hope for Sinley! I hope the $ 20 bet is won very soon.
      And I agree, the songs are so terrible and on the nose for scenes. Are they finding them somewhere (how) or are they composed for the scene? Like Riese, I want Leonard Cohen, Les Tigres etc.!
      I also thought Finley showed her gratitude to Sophie in her face and behavior even if she didn’t express it in words.
      Too tired to write more now, but as a stranger on the internet, I just wanted to tell you how delighted and joyful I am when seeing your comments :)

      • This is so kind of you to say, and makes me feel a tad less embarrassed about writing so much on here. What can I say, I live in a rural area with no in person community, and I adore this show is absurd as it is, and I have a lot of fun swooning and commiserating about it in this virtual space (particularly as I’m usually doing so while shielding the glow of my phone under the covers while laying in the dark next to my small child until they fall asleep, a process that is often not quick, and admittedly at times prolonged by my muffled snickering at these delightful recaps!)

        • I feel like this is obvious with the swiftness I alway reply to your comments but I love your commentary as well! it’s so nice to talk about this show with other intelligent people who can critique it, but not write it or certain characters off completely

        • @caitrw I always appreciate your very thoughtful paragraphs, and you voice thoughts that give me even more to think about than these excellent recaps do, which is fun for me even when the show is tilting more toward baffling than enjoyable.

    • Fellow sinley shipper and mourner here! I have no idea where they are taking it- but I really enjoyed their interactions this episode (outside of the huge ask Finley made without acknowledging it as you all have so eloquently addressed).

      This episode was one of the first time in recent memory that they felt like season 1/beginning of season 2 sinley chemistry and banter that made me fall in love with them in the first place. Idk why the writers had such a hard time capturing this when they were a couple.

  6. More random thoughts:
    I hate the storyline to bring in a character who is dependent on care just to create conflict, let this person die quickly so that there is a short portrayal of grief, and then have the mourner basically say to another person in a toxic family relation: “Try to make it work while you have the chance, because she is still alive, lucky you!”

    It was wonderful how Tess dropped the turkey on the mom’s lap! Haha! Did she do it by purpose (that would have been great) or did she slip? She had also had some alcohol.

    They really don’t know what to do with Micah, do they? He is high? That is his story here? Please, as a Micah fan, I am begging you to give us time with him as a social worker, his expertise, who he is as a person, family stuff, anything that is about his personality and character…
    Also… can people in TV shows also propose in private with no one around?

    The $ 20 bet between Sophie’s mother and grandmother about Finley and Sophie getting back together was hilarious and so, so funny

    Tess: It sucked that suggested that Finley should write amends for her mom when clearly Finley’s mother pulled some deep shit and should be the one apologizing! Tess is a terrible, terrible sponsor!
    Also, it sucks that Tess is drinking again and I am tired of the “will/won’t sober people take up drinking again.” There are other stories one could tell with soberness and problems that sober persons and the people around them face, but this has gotten old and they’ve been doing it since Gen Q season 1 now

    Since Sophie considers herself codependent with Finley (even though I don’t agree), I didn’t like that she dropped everything and came to Dana’s. I wish Finley had called Carrie instead. Also in the way this is written and the writers suddenly seem to suggest at this point (Sophie’s codependency), I wish Sophie had not answered her phone or said: “I’m sorry to hear this is happening. This sucks. How about you call Carrie? Also, we are not together any more and you need to work on finding other people who can support you.”
    Hadn’t they gone this weird codependency route with Finley and Sophie, I would have loved the story around being there for your ex despite the recent break-up and remaining family if this works well for all parties.

      • Right, I feel like there were much better ways the codependency element could have been touched on—like, Sophie at the end in the “I still want to be friends” convo having some self awareness about how maybe that role wasn’t good for her either right now since she dropped everything and inconvenienced her whole family to help Finley. Or I said in a different comment, in an alternate season timeline maybe this episode happened earlier on to actually foreshadow their breakup, and we see Sophie struggle with being there for Finley when she needs it in the delicate time in her sober journey but getting too sucked in by it. Or as you say don’t pull that relationship issue out of thin air to justify their breakup and have this be a sweet moment about queer exes still always being family in a way. Instead it all just felt like plot set up without much consideration for the characters.

        Likewise, they did not have to give Tess the terrible cliche “you never know how much time someone has” line! Finley could have realistically had that second thought herself watching Tess’s grief—a misguided “man, you will never talk to you mom again and mine is right in the next room, am I terrible if I don’t hear her out?”—to set it up rather than putting bad advice in Tess’s mouth as one of her only defining characteristics. I want to like these characters just write them better!! Or at least more carefully! Cause they always make Tess give illogical advice but I don’t think the viewer is supposed to see her that way (other than obviously in this episode we see her as distracted and later giving bad advice because she’s relapsing).

        • This idea of Finley projecting Tess’ situation into hers and making a misguided attempt at amends would have been far more compelling than Tess giving that advice (particularly given that Tess knew her mom had a progressive degenerative disease and their time was limited!)

          The whole codependency thing with Sophie and Finley is confusing… that allegation didn’t make sense in the breakup conversation but it is then strange to have it played here as “lovers to exes to chosen family”…. Sometimes I get whiplash from this show! I agree with the commenter who suggested that in this framework having this episode act as a demonstration of that codependency might have made this whole storyline make a lot more sense?

          But also Sophie seemed happy to be there (not with the mom, but offer wise), and like she wasn’t feeling resentful of Finley. So who knows!

          • Yeah, that’s the thing, I don’t think Sophie and her family going is necessary codependency. Just like it wasn’t necessarily codependency when Finley took off work to go support Sophie in the hospital in s1. Sometimes people just need support, it seemed like both of them knew it was a big ask, but Sophie chose to be there because she wanted to be, she wasn’t doing it out of guilt or fear like it would be in a codependent dynamic. I don’t love the idea that supporting someone in a time of crisis is codependency – hence why it annoyed me as the reason for the break up initially

            But if they’d showed a bigger pattern, like that this always happens and it’s never reciprocated, that would’ve made the codependency thing make more sense.

          • “I don’t love the idea that supporting someone in a time of crisis is codependency – hence why it annoyed me as the reason for the break up initially.”

            yeah i hadn’t thought about this too much but you’re right — like that’s not what codependency is! it feels like nobody in the writers room read Codependent No More three times like i did! And the codependent thing to do would’ve been sophie volunteering to drop everything and come to thanksgiving and then resenting that she’d done so, instead of doing it on request and seeming to feel ok about being there.

  7. I for one was rooting for Tess to throw herself off the cliff so we could be done with that character, but alas we were not so lucky.

    And yea, she was swigging wine(?) out of that go-cup. How did everyone in her vicinity not smell it?

    Who on this writing staff is OBSESSED with alcoholism? I simply do not understand why it’s this series’ favorite touchstone. What an unfun choice. Especially on a show that is literally built around bars and booze soaked events.

      • People in this comment section need to rediscover humor and lightness! These are fictional characters. Fictional, as in made up for entertainment. As in not real people who need to be defended. It’s a silly little gay hook up show as Drew said, and we should all take it as such and relaaaaax.

        Also, sometimes in fictional shows, characters are written to be annoying or unlikeable. Not every character in the show has to have redeeming qualities. In fact that generally makes for very boring film and television. Pointing out that a character is poorly written and annoying is not a personal attack on anyone or any group of people, it’s an observation and critique of the show, the entertainment, the fake thing that isn’t real. Saying you can’t stand a character isn’t tone deaf, it’s an observation. Perhaps the character (hold on to your hats people!) isn’t supposed to be loved. What a concept! Commenters here need to get a grip lol

        • op didn’t just say they disliked tess, though. they said they wanted her to kill herself, which is completely unacceptable. yes she is a fictional character, but using suicide to write her off the show would be incredibly cruel to real life viewers who have struggled with grief and depression.

  8. If I were Angie, I would not want what my mothers had. Well, she surely wasn’t told about everything they did to each other before they had her and when she was very young. But the sexualized violence when Bette and Tina were in the bed fighting and holding each other down? The belittling way Bette treated Tina? The way Tina treated Bette when she was unemployed? All the cheating? Tina wanting to build a family with Henry and cutting out Bette? Bette kidnapping Angie? The list goes on… So this is not a relationship to aspire to. I know many other people feel differently about them…

    Unpopular opinion: I enjoyed that Alice was not in this episode and felt it gave the episode the opportunity to breathe a little. And moreover, Leisha did a great job at directing!

    The open communication between Carrie and Misty was spot on (the boss, Carrie’s weekends, Carrie calling Misty her girlfriend and apologizing) and I want more characters communicating in this way!

    • Agreed! I am happy TiBette is not central anymore. Unless the writing is going to change dramatically, it’s not worth it for me. I’ve seen the same stuff for the entirely of the original. I’m good.

      • As I think drew said on the podcast once, nothing fills me with more wonder than the Tibette shippers. I don’t feel anger, it’s most just…confusion as to why everyone would want those two together.

        And I think Angie would agree with me, having been firsthand witness to so much of their bullshit over the years!

        • I started rewatching the original for some reason and yea. I don’t know how anyone thinks TiBette are good together. I am happy they get a happy ending, it is a fictional TV show. But good lord 6 seasons of their dysfunction was ENOUGH. It played out and now I’m good.

        • I think I blacked out briefly during that part of Angie and Shane’s conversation because it seemed so bananas and also like a leap for Angie based on what we know of her. Especially following on earlier this very season when her response to her moms chaotically hooking up again was to be like “what the fuck? This again?”

          • Yeah exactly! How does she want what her moms have when it seems like they hadn’t been together for most of her life?

  9. I liked that Sophie expressed Finley’s worth. I just wish she had said something more specific about Finley, not “You bring so much joy into the lives of other people” but something that is just about Finley: “You are kind. You are empathetic. You are caring. You are loyal. You have a heart of gold. You show up for people.” It reminded me of 3×02 when Finley expressed insecurity what Sophie sees in her, and Sophie responded “You make me feel like this and that.” I would have liked it if Sophie said to Finley: “I know you are caring for others, and I love this about you. And it is also good to care for yourself as well and good to put yourself first.”

    Riese, I didn’t notice so many inconsistencies in the episode! I loved so much of it, and I thought it was much more consistent than other episodes (which might also say something about the bigger inconsistencies in other episodes). Reading your recap and you pointing out some of the weird choices made me think (in Analyssa’s words from a podcast): “And another thing! And another thing!”

  10. Honestly, I really enjoyed this episode purely because I’ve wanted more details on Finley’s backstory since what feels like the beginning of time. Definitely felt like her mom was a bit unevenly written, but also think that can be tied back to classic narcissist manipulation. I am with you that I would love an episode like this with Sophie! Damn the Tibette wedding!

    Also Jacqueline did indeed act the shit out of the entire thing, and Sinley somehow still has the most palpable chemistry I’ve ever witnessed even when they’re broken up?? Maybe even more so because of the ~tension~. I’ve rewatched Finley saying “thanks bud” all flirtatiously when they were doing the gratitude exercise…way too many times.

    That being said, I fully agree with all of your critiques, tbh the other storylines going on the ep were so all over the place I think I blocked them out for self preservation. Love Angie and Shane’s dynamic and they could’ve done so much more with it! Why are Shane and Tess not together I’m so confused! Why would Micah take more than 3 edibles and why would you not send him into a coma of paranoia!

    Also, Tess’ line about how Finley needs to give her mom a chance because we don’t know how much time we have filled me with SUCH RAGE. I get it, she’s smack dab in the middle of a kind of grief I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but does she really lack so little empathy to not realize that not all parents are created equal? And Finley doesn’t need to repair an abusive relationship just because the abusive person happens to be her mom? Very happy Finley has Carrie and her confusing relationship with Sophie!

    Also, Dani subverted my expectations and made me laugh so hard when she showed up at Thanksgiving. And I was glad she and Sophie are friends again so she too has a happy, warm place to go in the absence of her parents

  11. Finley’s mom was horrible, and also, I wish we’d received more information on her family background this episode than being thrown out of their home in the age of 17 due to homophobia. For example, I wanted to learn more about Finley’s Catholic background, what role religion played in the family, if there was domestic violence, and if there was any sexualized violence that Finley experienced. Finley not having sober sex except with Sophie… Red flags as in “trauma history”?
    Also, where did Finley live after being forced to leave home so young? What is the relationship with Finley’s sister like?
    I am over the moon that they gave us some family background, but I want more, and I want deeper storylines!

  12. Why did no one in the writer’s room put the kibosh on having Carrie collapse and almost die? Why didn’t Rosie use her influence to ask for something better?? Why did no producer or other type of decision-maker at Showtime veto that writing choice??? Why did no spiritual entity unleash an act of god on the set that day, preventing such a scene from being filmed????? Why did nobody steal the Gen Q episode 3×08 negatives and hide them in an attic along with the stolen Lez Girls negatives so that we wouldn’t have to see something so pointlessly aggravating happen to such a beloved character????????

  13. Finley with her Mom and Carrie sticking up for Finley and proclaiming her Mom rights really was the heart of the show for me. So of course they immediately have to stomp on it with a heart attack scare.

    Like others have said, I’ve been interested in Finley’s background since they hinted at her deep trauma in s1. They’ve been skirting around it and even in this episode there is still a lot of stuff still unexplained in regards to Finley and the emotional scars she has, but this was a good start with a peek into how Finley became the Finley we know.

    Although, I have to say, as much as I love Mary McCormack, I would not have guessed she was Finley’s mom with her super blonde looks. Not that children/parents have to be carbon copies, but I always pictured someone like Carrie-Anne Moss. MM did a great job making her the mean homophobic mom though.

    Tess continues to give the worst advice to Finley. She’s being doing it since s1. She always just projects whatever issue she’s having at that moment, which is usually the opposite of what Finley needs to hear or how to help her find solutions.

    The whole Sophie and Finley thing is frustrating because it feels like the just broke them up for the sake of drama, without really caring if it makes sense or if it’s really real and not just temporary until they decide to slap them back together. I was a Sinley fan in the beginning but at this point I’m not rooting for them to get back together because I hate the back and forth storylines.

    When Nana first lost the ring I was like… seriously? You can’t find the ring in that small side dish of mashed potatoes? That ring looked like it was big enough to be a bolt that holds a bridge together … it will stick out in a relatively small side dish or in table scraps. But then the story lead to the adorable and funny smashing of potato scenes so then I was cool with it.

    What was the point of Dani and Dre being at the dinner? It felt like they were simply there to fill up a scene. I was hoping we’d have more interaction or discussions of the rift between Finley and Dani, but I guess that’s just been totally dropped.

    Angie and Shane and that man… I was really hoping that after last week we’d just move on from the Teacher and student relationship story and we’d just all walk away and agree to never speak or think of it again. I was all too willing to do this. But, here is the thing about this show… sometimes I can’t tell if they’re purposely writing storylines with bad issues that will make an overall point or if they’re just writing bad storylines. Like Angie and the Professor… or they writing this as an inappropriate relationship or as a romantic relationship with just bad timing? Or Tess and her horrible AA sponsorship and advice… is she purposely being written as a bad AA sponsor or do the writers think Finley has a great sponsor and friendship with Tess but it just not meant to be taken so seriously?

    • “That ring looked like it was big enough to be a bolt that holds a bridge together”

      YES! it did!!

      and also yes, feel you hard on never knowing if we’re supposed to know if someone is coming off a certain way intentionally or bad writing… like last season, tess saying cherie was her girlfriend after knowing her for two days, did that mean tess was insane and got intense about relationships SUPER quickly, or that writers didn’t really care about linear time? And now yeah, I have no idea if she’s supposed to be being written as a bad sponsor, or if we’re supposed to think she’s doing a good job and they just don’t know what a good sponsor looks like.

  14. Quick question: what kind of music is classified as ‘house’ music in the US? I re-watched the last scene and feel like, if someone in the UK asked for house music, it would be something slightly different.

    Great point on the OG series and how solid some of the background music was (though sometimes it was too unrelatable for my Black ass and horrible when it was a loop of character names – Shane Shane Shane Shane!). I can’t listen to Cannonball by Damien Rice without thinking of the pilot or Sade’s By Your Side without thinking of s6. Even when the music wasn’t the best, it was still memorable – I’m thinking of season 4’s Bareback Loving before Kit loses it on stage aha.

    Riese should’ve been hired as a writer on the show already. As an editor, I debate commissioning stories/books based on believability and ate up every bit of Riese’s character development when it comes to Finley and the mum. THAT would’ve been such an amazing plot to follow. Instead, all we have is what we have and a deep longing for Gigi!

    • In the context of this show when we say house music we’re referring to the fact that they’ve hired people to write music specifically for these episodes, rather than sourcing music that’s already out in the world by independent and more well-known musicians/performers

      I too wish Riese were in the writers room—you have such a measured and thoughtful approach to these characters and their stories. I always appreciate the way you hold the show accountable when needed but also are sometimes more understanding than I am of what I perceive as missteps. It sounds silly to say about a tv show recap but I get so much out of these, and the pod discussions, and the comment conversations too!

  15. Constantly wondering if the writers ever meant for us to like Tess or if we just defaulted to it because we love Jamie seeing as I’m constantly ????-ing at everything she does, especially this season

    I don’t even have the energy to say anything other than that these characters and these actors deserve way better writing and it’s just frustrating that this is what we get instead

    • Remember when Tess was introduced and she was flirty and fun and smart and silly AND sober? Remember when she held Shane accountable for her actions early on? Remember how when she relapsed the first time and hooked up with Finley she was super emotionally intuitive and mature about the whole thing and made sure the Finley didn’t take on emotional responsibility for her relapse? Remember when she initially said no to poker and held that boundary with Shane?

      There are so many things to enjoy and admire about Tess as a character (and Jamie is indeed golden), and flaws that make her like a real human, but all that just feels obscured by some of the more recent writing that swings between coyly manipulating Shane into buying a second bar (which has been sitting vacant since 3X03?) to going berserk about being too stressed to coldly shutting Shane out (and this was pre cheating). As someone else said farther up the comments, I am often left wondering if the writers are trying to depict her as someone who is chaotic or has this big mood swings or whatever, or if it’s just inconsistent writing?

      • You put this way better than I ever could and it’s exactly how I feel, so thank you!

        I feel like Tess pre-relationship with Shane was way better written. Maybe what I’m just realizing is that the writers don’t know what to do with the characters as soon as they get into a relationship, at which point everything they do only serves the purpose of creating conflict for the sake of conflict and we end up losing the tridimensional characters we fell in love with in the first place

        • I FORGOT about how great Tess was pre-Shane-monogamy. Darn it, the inconsistency sucks.
          Also, yeah all the actors deserve more nuanced writing. If I hadn’t watched Sense8, would have NO IDEA how amazing Jamie Clayton is.

        • I l have come to the conclusion that they don’t really know how to write romantic couples together. This has been discussed on To L and Back too. I think it’s one reason we see these overly dramatic plot devices that break people up as soon as they get together, and also why this show shines in its depiction of friendship.

  16. My contribution is this exchange with my partner (whose entire engagement with TLW is via screencaps that I send her from these recaps)
    Me: “Riese is reaching a breaking point”
    Her: “Riesing a breaking point” (and also “yikes”)

  17. I am amazed at this show’s ability to confound my expectations…every time I think it can’t get any worse, it somehow does. I’m used to this show’s writing being bad — like Micah forgetting how gummies work after seeming to have understood it perfectly well when his mother did them in season one — but they rarely wade into being really offensive.

    That ending, tho?!

    So ridiculously offensive, I cannot even fathom how it made it to air.

    • Can we be done w Tess already????? Was hoping she’d throw herself off the cliff, but sadly we weren’t that lucky.

      And what kind of parents don’t see their kids during the holidays?? 🤷🏽‍♀️

        • People are so bothered by any criticism of Tess. It’s a character! The character is disliked. This comment section is out of control with the “this comment is cruel” nonsense.

          Look at this comment within the context of this show—they literally do soap opera level cliffhanger drama all the time now. Gigi’s accident, Carrie’s heart attack. Let’s not act like implying that Tess might have drunkenly thrown herself off that cliff while grieving her mom isn’t 100% on brand for the show this season. Honestly had that been the case, the whole secret drinking story would have had some pay off? Otherwise no reason to have Tess fall off the wagon in this episode at all. Like okay, she’s drinking again, shocker? Who cares. Womp womp,l.

          • Oh my God, urging the writers to kill off a once-sober character via drunken suicide is not constructive fucking criticism! Real people struggle with sobriety and depression, and we do not need to see our struggles reduced to soap opera fodder.

          • There is a huge different between writing a comment that criticizes Tess for giving bad advice or being erratically written by a writers room, and a comment (there were two different ones) saying that she should have thrown herself off a cliff. Yes, we are talking about fictional characters. But this kind of violent language is totally unnecessary and escalates what is intended to be a fun dialogue about a ridiculous, maddening, beloved show.

            This kind of violent language being normalized (or dismissed as meaningless, as with the commenter above saying we should all chill out) contributes to the culture of violence we live in—against women, BIPOC folx, queer people, those with disabilities, etc. Essentially all the people that populate Gen Q.

          • Trying to figure out how disliking a made up character becomes violence, but oookay. People be out here getting personally riled up over thin air.

            Also for the record the character is cis, sooo none of this holds any water anyways. Lol

  18. It was really healing to see how both Shane and Carrie embodied nurturing, masculine-presenting chosen parenthood in this episode. Both went hard to protect their young people, and were also intentional about affirming and validating their feelings and not make it about themselves. That was really beautiful and rare to see.

    It was awful that Finley asked Sophie to come to the bar and support her through her mom situation when she knew Sophie was celebrating with her family, and maybe even more awful that Sophie forced her whole family to leave behind the food they cooked and go experience the toxicity too. This is the kind of codependent behavior that it would have been helpful for us to see before the breakup.

    I thought the scene with both Sophie and Tess trying to coach Finley in the back office was fascinating. Although Tess’s advice was awful for most of the episode, it was a significant moment for Finley when Tess said “you can’t control her, you can only control yourself” and asked Finley what SHE wanted. Finley hadn’t stopped to ask herself that, and she needed that prompting. Also it’s pretty clear to me that the writers have been hinting towards a Finley / Tess romance, and the moment between Tess and Sophie afterwards felt like it was about Tess telling Sophie to back off.

    My off-the-wall theory about why Finley’s mom came to LA is that she’s gay too, and maybe that’s part of why she’s lashed out so hard at Finley for being gay. And she’s having some kind of journey of self-awareness, and deeply wants to connect with Finley about it (re: mild admiration for having made her own life) but doesn’t know any other way to be besides her old toxic patterns. The original series did love its complicated gay mother-daughter relationships – Dana and her mom, Molly and her mom, Helena and her mom. But who knows! The show didn’t give us much to go on, so we’re left to speculate.

  19. this episode was WILD and by that I mean it gave me none of what I asked for.

    also it kinda felt like edging…Shane and Angie hijinks being almost exciting, Finley leaving the room after her Mom almost compliments her, seeing brief moments of a high Micah, wondering wtf Tess meant by saying “she’s a big girl” (esp considering that Finley is very much someone who still needs mothering), wondering if they’re killing Carrie only to realize in next episode’s preview that she’s experienced an Immediate Recovery.

    oh GQ.

    • Left arm pain is common but pain in either arm can be a sign of a heart attack and women’s heart attack symptoms often present differently than men’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if they touch on that in next week’s episode as the variety in symptoms is not as widely known as it should be.

      • I was about to mention the same thing. My sister died 11 years ago, at 42, from a heart attack. She had none of the “classic” symptoms. All I knew was that on xmas day, her neck hurt really badly. Then, the next 2 days, she felt like she had the flu. On day 3, I found her body in her bedroom. She died while getting ready for work. She was also 115 lbs. when weighed by the coroner.

        I looked up the symptoms and found how drastically different the symptoms presented between men and women. A backache or diarrhea you have today could be a symptom of a heart attack that might happen a year or two from now. The list goes on and on. My best friend had 2 heart attacks in 6 months a couple of years ago. Her symptoms were chest pain. She may have presented in her neck and back, but her neck and back are totally screwed up and she’s in constant pain from both.

  20. This recap was wonderful.

    Finley is so hot, like each episode I basically just want more finely time.

    It feels like all the storylines have the potential for depth but everything gets skimped over and then filled in a off handed past reference. Isn’t like basic writing “show not tell”…I want them to show us more and let these characters deepen. Its like so unsatisfying but I’m still fully committed to them.

    Carrie and the heart attack line—associating larger bodies with being out of shape and having heart attacks is so damn boring and feeds the thin-bias and sizism. Like the only non thin character is the one getting cpr. Boring. Thanks for noting this Reese. every low hanging fruit cliche was brought here this season! Fingers crossed we have more Rosie, less trauma, as 2 dead mom storylines with only 2 episodes left is not exciting.

    • Yes this, about Carrie’s heart attack and bigger bodies being represented. However, remember that Rosie had a heart attack in real life, so maybe she had some input into the storyline? I really love her on the show.

  21. spot on recap, riese. just when i thought Gen Q storylines couldn’t get any more incoherent they pull this nonsense. i’d rather watch mr piddles 2 wander through the vents at the Aloce show for an hour.

  22. ….yeah….wtf…..

    one bright glimmer in this episode was that dani mentioned roxy. i was shocked that the gen q writers managed to loop back to something that happened in previous episodes!!

    but yeah…hmmm..this episode had so much potential and im genuinely sad that the follow through is lacking.

    i also think its extremely unclear if sophie and finley were *actually* sexting or what was up with all of that?

  23. Riese, thank you for your service with another great recap.

    I loved this ep because the vibes with Angie&Shane and Finley&Carrie were so funny and lovely, and just made more sense than things have since earlier in the season. You’re right about the relapse storyline being tired, and why is Tess always written to give such bad and generic advice that the writers don’t seem to acknowledge as awful advice? Also sure Angie could have told Shane about the prof thing, but that’s the type of inconsistency I’ve come to expect from the l word. At least their vibes as uncle Shane and Angie were right!

    On the other hand, Sophie disrupting Suarez thanksgiving to go be with Finley sorta sucked. But I was glad it ended up going okay? As cris said above, this woulda made so much more sense pre-breakup. But when the Finley/Sophie vibes felt right when they were together this episode, with Finley being really honest with Sophie and the two of them sort of acting as a team, so that was a relief. I am team Sinley bc when they work well together it’s great!

    Annnnnd the whole Bettina thing. That does suck that when they come back for the next two episodes we’ll have to pay attention to them again. As a former shipper, I was thrilled to have them just ride off into the sunset happy and never have to wrestle with their toxicity again.

    As y’all are saying on the podcast, we just keep getting close to specific storylines that would work so much better, but then the near misses are a bummer. Like, you’re so right that Finley’s mom getting drunk woulda made way more sense!

    Would totally be into a carrie-centered spinoff. Also her bringing in the demi sexual rep while also being butch and fat and flawed but deeply caring and funny and charming? AND being a young queer’s found family and good sobriety spin-off? How about that becomes one show and Dani/Gigi become another with Sophie and Micah and the Suarez family and then Alice and Shane and Angie also get a shoe where Bette and Tina show up sometimes? I’d watch each of these for totally different reasons (queer found family, queer dating and bio family, nostalgia in order) but it’s frustrating when there are so many characters and guest stars to balance that the storylines aren’t hanging together! It seems like they’re trying to do sooooo many things, all of which are valid, but…then missing the coherent story task

  24. I agree with every aspect of your recap! I loved the Shane and Angie shenanigans though. I’m sure that Hendrix will get what’s coming for him once mamas Bette and Tina come back. I love Rosie O Donnell she brings so much to every show and her relationship with Finley has been so special in two short episodes. I really hope they don’t lose her. She really shows you what an A Class actor can bring to a series. Everything about Tess just bothers me. I can’t even put my finger on one thing in particular – but I find her character heavy and exhausting to watch. There’s nothing enjoyable about it – it’s always cliched and played out. I really missed an Alice appearance this week but what’s more I missed your appraisal of her weekly wardrobe costing most of all… they must have saved a fortune on the stylist budget this week! Thanks so much for the amazing recaps 🙏🏻

  25. In addition to everything that Riese has said in these recaps about this season’s incoherent plot lines- Tess is suddenly awful! Angie dates her teacher! Everyone breaks up because we can’t have anything nice!- I have to say that I am so, so irritated by Patty’s story. As a gal with multiple sclerosis, it would have been nice to see something that actually takes a serious look at what this disease does to a person, the way it changes your life and the lives of those around you. But instead we got “MS is SCARY and AWFUL and if someone gets it they will be MEAN and then DIE (which will be a RELIEF because now the SCARY SICKNESS is GONE).”

    Don’t get me wrong, MS sucks. I am personally not a fan. But it would have been nice to see a story about it that wasn’t just… this.

    • THIS. Elliott, you expressed it ever so eloquently. I hated it on this show and I hate it in so many other movies or TV shows when characters get a diagnosis and then either die or become perfectly healthy again (the perpetual miracle). Please show people living with their chronic illness/disability, and not make it a brief story for drama just to kill the person off for “relief” (because terrible illness!) or have them become their old healthy self again.
      I didn’t like them telling a story about MS because I didn’t think they would do a good job… and then they didn’t. If writers don’t have the space/energy/knowledge etc. then they should just leave it and not get into waters that are too deep.

  26. Hopefully they don’t go there and make Finley’s toxic mother gay to explain her horrible behavior as being a repressed queer with internalized homophobia. People are perfectly capable of being homophobic bullies without being queer themselves, in fact, statistically speaking, the majority of homophobic people are not queer (unless everyone is queer at heart).
    I am tired of the trope that people are hateful because they hide an aspect of their identity and not because of power structures, hierarchies, advantages, conservative religion, being right-wing etc. It would be so much more interesting to me if Finley’s mom was just narcissistic and toxic and conservative in her Catholicism without being a lesbian. If they went there, it would be a repetition of the OG stories with Dana’s mother etc. Instead, they could look at how religion structured Finley’s family and her parents’ convictions and behaviors… Control as a form of psychological violence… If there was domestic or sexualized violence in the family… if addiction runs in the family. Things like that are more interesting storytelling to me.

  27. Grr arghh.

    I miss the sex. The opening scene of the entire series was hot and dirty and urgent and bare and real and well-lit. The writers and creators promised us something with that and have now failed us again and again.

    Instead of ending with Carrie’s heart attack, maybe they could have ended with a well-lit butch4butch makeout session while Carrie and Misty recover over 90 Day Fiancé? Maybe some heavy petting or light fingering, or just prolonged sexy kissing? Showing not telling how they are taking it slow? Or a squishy hug with some ass squeezing? Anything sexy or just playfully intimate? Last week’s kiss was so blaaaah.

    And Dani and Dre – aren’t they perfectly set up for sexytimes? Can’t we have the usual 3 minute portion at least? Some switchy shenanigans? Why have they taken this from us? That vulnerable disclosure is a perfect lead-in to hot play. Start making the Saltine stuffing and get to…stuffing instead!

  28. I sooo want to like this show because of the representation of the LGBTQ community. But this episode was another blank stare. As a fellow L Word watcher and faithful, I may add, the whole new series has just been blah to me! In my honest opinion…there’s no cohesiveness with the storylines, they’re all over the place and there’s definitely no chemistry between the coupled characters. They’re likeable characters but I do not like one single couple that are paired. For me, and just for me, nothing is relatable. It’s almost as if the producers picked random people to write fictitious stories and blindfoldedly( I know that’s not a word…loll) selected one out of hat.
    I’ve seen no character development. Alice, although we love her quirkiness, still acts as if she’s back in the old L Word days and Shane, will always be Shane but c’mon, I need some profundity of the older and new as well, characters; they’ve been around long enough for us to see some depth! It pains me to watch it week by week and being left with a WTH look upon my face! And my only reasoning for continuing to watch it is for the support. But if you asked me, I would say, I could’ve done without a reboot. #justmytwocents

  29. I loved your recap and I REALLY LOVED this episode. But why oh why must directors and writers inject such drama into Thanksgiving/Christmas TV episodes and movies? Sometimes, watching loved ones and a family sit down to a great meal, beautifully photographed, is all the food porn you need. That being said, I think I am the only person in the world who saw the homage to Jodie Foster’s great Thanksgiving movie “Home for the Holidays” when Tess drops the turkey on Mrs. Finley. It seems to be the thing to drop a turkey on an odious personality and in the movie, Holly Hunter’s bigoted and homophobic sister receives the carcass. I’m also glad you mentioned the great soundtrack in the first season of the original series. I will never forget Joseph Arthur’s wonderful song “In the Sun” playing as Alice goes to Dana’s house to admit her love. Or when Portishead’s “Roads” plays as Bette cheats on Tina with Candace. But you would never know those songs existed as they have been totally excised in the repeat showings on streaming services and even Showtime. I guess they didn’t want to pay the royalties? At least they still exist on the DVD collection. It’s truly a shame.

  30. Am I the only person who cannot stand Finley?

    Rosie O’Donnell is very good in this role.

    Editors: the term is prix fixe, as in fixed price, as in the dinner at Dana’s.

    Why is alcoholism so pervasive in this show, asks a commenter? Because it’s a major problem in our society and a MAJOR problem for LGBTQ+ people who still get short shrift in our “culture” and are forced to socialize in bars.

    As always, Riese is a star and needs to be in the writers’ room of this and other shows.

    • Finley has always annoyed me.
      I am really happy that Carrie holds her accountable. Even though Finley’s character annoys me, I love the Finley, Carrie, Misty dynamic. They work well together.

      Finley is very Midwest, I’m surprised I haven’t seen her eating Jello salad every other episode. “Sexy Italian Casserole”

  31. I loved your recap and I REALLY LOVED this episode. But why oh why must directors and writers inject such drama into Thanksgiving/Christmas TV episodes and movies? Sometimes, watching loved ones and a family sit down to a great meal, beautifully photographed, is all the food porn you need. That being said, I think I am the only person in the world who saw the homage to Jodie Foster’s great Thanksgiving movie “Home for the Holidays” when Tess drops the turkey on Mrs. Finley. It seems to be the thing to drop a turkey on an odious personality and in the movie, Holly Hunter’s bigoted and homophobic sister receives the carcass. I’m also glad you mentioned the great soundtrack in the first season of the original series. I will never forget Joseph Arthur’s wonderful song “In the Sun” playing as Alice goes to Dana’s house to admit her love. Or when Portishead’s “Roads” plays as Bette cheats on Tina with Candace. Last time I tried re watching, some of these great songs were replaced with generic music! I guess they didn’t want to pay the royalties? I hope they put them back in.

  32. I think if it wasn’t for these recaps and the podcast, I’d have given up on this show a while ago. Now I just watch, bracing myself for the dumb writing choices.

    I knew as soon as the urn was on the shelf with the alcohol that Tess was relapsing and I knew something was going to happen to Carrie after she complained about her arm multiple times, so at least I wasn’t shocked by either of those.

    It’s a shame, because I love so many of these characters and their dynamics (Uncle Shane and Angie is great, Finley and Carrie is great, the Suarez family are great), but it just feels like constantly wasted potential.

    Not sure I’m ready for Tibette to be back, it’s the one thing I’ve enjoyed from this season…

  33. This part of the recap made me splutter with actual laughter:

    “They’ve yet to even look at this man’s full profile or actually purchase the sperm or do [literally anything in the baby-making process] and everybody is losing their gourds with delight over this news as if Maribel just birthed a healthy baby boy directly onto the Thanksgiving table and announced that he was on track to be the next King of England.”

    I also reacted with disbelief at the utter jubilation displayed. It’s like, this is step 0.5 of 1000 on the road to a baby. Maybe save the tears of ecstasy for a little longer down the road?

    I would also loooove to know why Maribel was so anti-marriage and then pro marriage in the space of (however fucking long its been?). Some interiority would be lovelyyy.

    • Firstly nothing makes me happier than being complemented for a specific joke and SECONDLY right like if they’re this excited about an email from the sperm bank saying there’s a prospective match like what are they going to do when she actually gets pregnant, launch a thousand balloons into the sky and blow on 100 trombones?

  34. Finley and Carrie are great characters acting with each other. The turkey landing in Finley’s mom’s lap on purpose was a perfect scene
    Seeing Bette and Tina in the previews was the best. I still miss seeing their chemistry together. I have to watch the original L Word from 2004-2009 to actually see them together. Dill no couple in the new series has as much passion as Bette and Tina did in the original

  35. I was thinking last night that Gen Q is unlike any other show I’ve ever watched. It doesn’t follow any conventional rules of story telling and character arc or development. The story telling is almost primarily through dialogue vs watching the stories unfold. I personally find it hard to sustain my attention and follow the plot because I’m frequently bored while waiting for something to happen. I rely on these recaps and the pod to fill in the gaps.

    The characters are so thinly written, but because the actors are so likeable we root for them and fill in their development by projecting our own schema onto these characters. This may be why there are such vast differences between how we each perceive them. We are also responsible to fill in gaps in the stories they aren’t telling in order for us to care about when they have a couple together for part of one episode and then introduce conflict that will result in their break up an episode or two later vs actually giving us a reason to be invested in the first place.

    I think the main problem is they have a large ensemble cast and they are trying to do too much. I wish they would let the stories build throughout the season and try to find other sources of drama and conflict outside of break ups and traumatic near death experiences. For example, they could have let the Tess storyline simmer more and show the dynamic of caregiving with her mom and the told the role reversal it had on both of them- it was just danced around. I don’t know if they’ve done it intentionally because I’m skeptical it will be addressed, but Tess’s codependency was on display in those scenes and continues to be as she avoids dealing with her own traumatic grief and redirects her energies on misguided attempts to help others and now relapsing. It would also be nice if they explored Shane’s cheating as a trauma response to feeling emotionally abandoned. I don’t know- anything could be more interesting than what we have!

    • Another example, would be showing Maribel’s motivation for wanting to have a baby. The whole proposal and “I don’t want to get married, I want to have a baby!” set up was out of left field. Is there a reason Maribel suddenly feels an urgency to have a child? Maybe her co-workers or friends (assuming she had a circle of friends before being immersed into this insular little world) are all getting pregnant/starting families etc. Or whatever, show some kind of motivation. Maybe she was at her annual gyn appointment and had a conversation with her doctor. That could be cool to see a disabled character on TV have an affirming conversation with a medical professional if they could pull it off in a non-cheesy way. The only reason I’m personally invested in this storyline and hope they actually do carry it through is because I was raised by a mom with a disability and this will be the first time I will ever see my family and myself as a child represented in media and that’s kind of a big deal. I just wish they would do more with it. There are so many potential storylines because it’s never been done on TV, but they will give these actors none.

    • “The characters are so thinly written, but because the actors are so likeable we root for them and fill in their development by projecting our own schema onto these characters. This may be why there are such vast differences between how we each perceive them.”

      yes totally 100%! i think this is really the root of all of it, when we connect to a certain story or character we start filling in the gaps like crazy.

      i mean bette and tina are a prime example of this — most really passionate tibette fans are fans in part because bette and tina are a rare representation of a long-term lesbian relationship between two adults, one of the first we ever saw on television, and that’s the kinds of relationships their fans were in or aspired to. and bette was always pretty fully drawn but tina’s always been a sketch at best, so there was a lot projected onto it.

  36. There was a lot of randomness to this episode but the thing I can’t get over most is Micah not being hospitalized after eating 3 edibles! Like what? That many and you’d see God. Just weird considering they spent a whole ep on an ayuasca trip.

  37. The writers really have no idea what they are doing – the minor suggestions that Riese comes up with on the fly are more coherent and satisfying.

    They seem to have taken a baby step with Tess giving bad advice about not wasting time with your mom; this time the writers seem to know it’s bad advice. It was great to see Tess drop the turkey on Mrs. Bigot but I wasn’t thrilled that she performed the sacred task of spreading her mother’s ashes while drunk during a relapse. I’m not sure the writers even realize how bleak that is, especially when paired with the attempt at a thoughtful concluding monologue.

    Fantastic captions as always. I cackled at the Buffy ones, but must insist that the classic tome ‘Vampyr’ belongs to both Buffy AND her one true love, Faith.

  38. I am flabbergasted that nobody noticed the crucial part of the plot relating to Misty and Finley teaming up to gaslight Carrie and ultimately cause her near-demise.
    When Finley hands a special beverage to Misty, which will ultimately serve to explain her “toilet troubles” and a lovers’ misunderstanding followed by Carrie’s anxiety-induced heart attack, was I the only one who saw that the to-go cup handed to Misty was in fact totally EMPTY?!
    It is obvious to anyone who actually pays attention to the show, that Finley and Misty deliberately conspired to cause stress and harm to Carrie by playacting the exchange of an IBM beverage. And they both have very good motives that have been sprinkled out for us throughout the first two seasons, plus the original show’s foreshadowing through introduction of manipulative and scheming characters such as that documentarist who seduced Helena to extort moneys from her, and how Jenny went from a regular girl to a batshit crazy thief of her friends’ life stories.
    Sadly, these recaps are not providing close enough readings of the show, and missing important narrative undercurrents whose understanding would lead to a better insight into contemporary lesbian existence.
    Maybe the problem are not the writers of the show but the lazy viewers?

  39. I love how this episode paid tribute to the first season of The White Lotus and Tanya McQuoid’s plotline of scattering her deceased mother’s ashes into the Pacific. Unfortunately, we all know what happened to Tanya in the second season, after an altercation with gays, and I must say I will miss Tess.

    Anyways, a big fan of intertextuality here – keep these crossovers coming!

    PS Would love to see Jennifer Coolidge as the new director of the museum Bette left behind to be a housemaker in Toronto!

  40. Honestly I loved this episode in all of its (sapphic) chaos, until the end! How dare they play with Finley and all of our emotions like that. I was relieved to see Carrie in the preview for next week, she’s become one of my favorite characters.

  41. Just when I feel I’ve completely outgrown this show, Carrie turns up. I adore their heart, mannerisms, moral compass and loyalty to those in their life. We need more Older Wiser Lesbians (OWLS) in this show that don’t create drama, but show signs of reflection and growth.

    Also: More MYSTRRIE!

  42. These recaps are the best part of this show which (I cannot emphasize enough) I only ever want to love. Unfortunately I think the worldview of this show is sort of…bleak? Like I think everyone in charge of making it is very interested in grief and loss and betrayal and harm, and that is very fair! They’re all humam things, however they’re essentially rewriting a small handful of gut-churning stories over and over (alcohol relapse, parent death, near-death experiences for shock value [like that time Bette allegedly almost killed a bigot on those steps and felt mildly bad lol], cheating after explicitly verbally promising not to) to the detriment of every other kind of story.

    I would love for them to become as interested in showcasing queer joy and reverie as they are in showing queer misery, especially when it has no lasting impact on anyone’s plot. Just because a scene is fun and light doesn’t mean it can’t allow for character development or a watchable plot.

    Dani and Gigi had like 5 scenes that were just the two of them talking over a meal and were captivating. Shane and Quiara took Angie driving and fooled me into thinking Shane was already prepared to live a little differently than she had in the og series. Micah and Maribel rode horses back when they had interests that didn’t involve procreation. The best episode of this series was just some friends and exes doing karaoke!

    We could and should be having more fun, is what I’m saying. Or at the very least not continually pretending that the best characters will be unceremoniously killed off for a few minutes of shock value that could be better spent on literally anybody having full sex.

    Happy for Finley’s growth, sad that Micah and Sophie have again this season been shortchanged (and Dani to a lesser extent) in terms of screen time and coherent narrative because we spent so much time spinning our wheels with Shane and Tess and their bar baby and Peppermint Patty being brought in only to put a strain on them, and also with Angie who’s only real crime is being rewritten as a girl whose lesbian moms never talked to her about sex or romance or power imbalances, and that grown man who can’t write. Happiest for Alice, who at least has mostly had fun this season, bless her heart.

    • Yes, Mina, so much this! In general I tend to favor more serious, complex, or wrenching media/books/storylines because I think fiction is one way (for me) of processing and reflecting on the serious, complex, and often wrenching experience of being a person in the world.

      But this show really is at its best when it showcases queer joy (also linked to how they excel at writing friendships compared to committed romantic relationships), and if they do want to address more “dramatic” or painful scenarios, it should be done with care and intention.

      I think that’s part of what feels so maddening about being a fan of this show, that all this addiction, death, cheating, and conflict just feels cheap, illogical, or inconsistent, and is not even used to move characters or stories forward. They do SO little with it… (Angie and the Prof’s storyline being just a recent example, but also the explosive revelation that Dani’s dad knowingly contributed to the deaths of half a million people and that has thankfully just been forgotten, or even the legacy of Jenny within the OG friend circle).

      All of my favorite moments from Gen Q are moments of joy, or levity, or connection – even if it’s a moment of vulnerability/emotion (like the s1 sequence of Sinley getting together, or when Dani shows up at Bette’s house to finally accept that hug that Bette offered).

      • Circling back to say that I think connection, almost more than joy explicitly, is actually maybe is the most important part of what makes this show work (for me)?

        Like the parts that delight me, like Alice/Shane/Bette (Even when they are ribbing each other), or even Alice and Tom’s banter, or Sophie and Finley’s return to their established caring character dynamic in this episode 3×08, are largely about connection… even if the characters are navigating interpersonal or life conflicts and the situations/scenes aren’t necessarily showcasing joy. Whereas Gen Q often seems to favor disconnection as an easy plot device (hence the reliance on cheating storylines).

  43. I love Rosie O’Donnell so much I feel like we are so lucky to have her on this show!! She is a legend. Can Carrie be my mom? The scene with Finley and her mother is sadly relatable to me, it was very cathartic to have Carrie stick up for Finley, and to offer her another loving hug. I’m pretending the ending didn’t happen.

    Sophie’s family is so fun, the mashed potatoes bit was great!! I loved the proposal, I love any proposal, even if it didn’t make sense lol

    This episode was really funny and entertaining, I enjoyed it.

    I agree with the other commenters who want more depth in the characters, especially Sophie!

  44. i for one liked the portrayal of carrie’s heart attack in the end and what that meant for finley.

    everything you all said about about the show’s message larger bodies and exercise being terrible is totally correct, and the lazy cliffhangers etc. …

    yet as a person who was also dealt a shitty hand in regards to family of origin, it spoke to me. from a very young age, i was very used to family emergencies, high drama, catastrophes and existential crises. and not used to life going on without something horrible. today i am not in contact with my family any more and have built a wonderful chosen family but i am waiting for the other shoe to drop. but. given my history, i am afraid that now, when it is supposed to be safe and better, something horrible will happen to members of my chosen family.
    this is the reason i could absolutely see myself in finley’s despair + fear in the end and liked that representation of “family of origin-drama managed, feeling touched due to being supported, finally life is beautiful, and now losing the people i love and i am supported by”.

    really fond of finley calling 911 and performing CPR as she knew what to do in a moment of crisis. unlike carrie when big died. (and it is fair, people react different in moments of shock, some freeze, but i liked finley knowing what to do.)

    also jacqueline toboni was so incredibly awesome in this episode, she is a wonderful actor. and the same of course for rosie o’donnell, she is so amazing.

  45. It was wonderful seeing a glimpse of Bette and Tina at the end of Episode 8
    Are we going to see more of them in episode 9 and 10 and how the relationship has grown since they have been together.

  46. It was wonderful seeing a glimpse of Bette and Tina at the end of Episode 8
    Are we going to see more of them in episode 9 and 10 and how the relationship has grown since they have been together.

    Actually this is a new comment. Last comment was 1/7

  47. Just watched E9. Loved having Bette and Tina back where they belong. Really like misty and Carrie together. Angie is definitely all grown up. One of the better episodes. Can’t wait to actually see Bette and Tina get married in E10

  48. The series of captions about the All American Girls Baseball League!!! So relatable. I just had that conversation with my mom. I was also destroyed by the description of the ring getting lost in the mashed potatoes; it truly hadn’t occurred to me how ridiculous that was. A delight to read this recap as always! (Lol a bit of a stretch but the title could have been Quality Time Saltines All Wounds)

    So disappointed with the relapse storyline. I would have loved an exploration of how Tess deals with her grief without drinking. The same thing keeps happening this season where there are opportunities to further character development but then instead, the story goes in the direction that allows the character no growth or change, usually a repeat of past behaviour.

  49. Riese, I am so with you on the garbage soundtrack of Gen Q. The original L Word had gorgeous, sultry music that accentuated each scene. Gen Q uses corny and bad music to try and literally tell the story with lyrics.

  50. I know I’m late to the party (this comment section) but I have had a feeling since I saw the episode and I’ll try to see if I can articulate it here.

    There is something that rubs me the wrong way about Tess’s bad advice that “you know now how much time you have left with someone” making Finley think she had to be around her awful mother, to then have a Finley go through thinking she would lose Carrie who that same night called herself Finley’s chosen mother. It just feels so cruel..

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